The Yorkshire Post (24 April, p12) reported that Gus John had taken early retirement from Hackney 11 months before a DfEE hit squad was called in to run education in late 1997.
At an industrial tribunal he has claimed he was one of only two suitable candidates who applied for the job and should at least have had an interview.
The hearing last week heard that Mr John was introduced to the Leeds education committee chairwoman Sarah Perrigo at a dinner party 10 days before the job was readvertised in September 1997.
Ms Perrigo was later serverly criticised by the council's chief legal officer, Paul Rogerson, the tribunal heard.
He said her actions were improper, given a council ban on canvassing by candidates applying for jobs with the council. She was replaced as education chair last May.
A barrister representing the council told the tribunal the meeting over dinner would have made an appointment highly embarrassing for the authority.
The hearing continues.