- The previous president of Kentucky State College is suing the establishment, alleging the traditionally Black college owes him a severance fee of $270,000 plus $10,000 in relocation bills as a result of he was pressured to resign.
- M. Christopher Brown II abruptly resigned from the highest submit at Kentucky State final summer time. Months later, a state company assessment of the college’s funds discovered that overspending and poor monetary administration led to an enormous funds deficit on the establishment.
- In response to Brown’s lawsuit, Kentucky State filed counterclaims towards him in January, based on courtroom paperwork. The college alleges Brown breached his contract and fiduciary obligation by misrepresenting or not offering essential details about the establishment’s worsening monetary situation to its governing board.
The authorized battle presents new understanding into what went unsuitable at Kentucky State, which is requesting $23 million from the state to cowl its funds shortfall. An audit of the college’s funds final yr discovered constant overspending and poor budgetary controls rapidly depleted reserves.
Kentucky State alleges Brown mismanaged the college’s funds, resulting in multiyear deficits. It asserts Brown did not receive board members’ approval earlier than accessing funds from a mortgage for the establishment and did not alert them about massive funds he both knew about or ought to have recognized about.
Elaine Farris, chair of Kentucky State’s board of regents, informed state lawmakers final week that the college’s prior administration gave the board “insufficient data or false data” concerning the establishment’s monetary standing, The State Journal reported.
“Once we came upon and had concrete proof of economic concerns we needed to cope with as a board, we had a gathering and the board handled these points,” Farris mentioned through the listening to. “That is once we determined we needed to go in a special path with management.”
The college was required to pay Brown severance totaling his annual wage on the time of his termination if he was fired with out trigger, based on a replica of his contract included in his criticism. If he voluntarily left the place earlier than his contract ended, nevertheless, he was not entitled to the severance fee.
Though Brown concedes he resigned, he alleges the governing board pressured him to take action. His lawsuit, filed within the Franklin Circuit Courtroom of Kentucky in November, alleges breach of contract and constructive discharge, which suggests a employee is pressured to stop due to insupportable working situations.
Brown’s lawsuit presents a timeline of the occasions that led to his resignation. On July 12, Kentucky State’s governing board held a gathering and offered Brown with an inventory of economic points found after the resignation of the college’s chief monetary officer, Douglas Allen.
The lawsuit says the board requested Brown to repair these points and provide extra data on the subsequent board assembly. Farris known as Brown a number of instances the following day, based on the criticism, telling him he needed to lead the college out of the disaster and stating that Brown might repair the issues.
But the connection appeared to bitter, based on the lawsuit. On July 14, Farris despatched a textual content message to Brown saying, “I’m in no psychological state proper now to speak to you.” Farris requested Brown to work with one other administrator to jot down his resignation letter and ship it to Farris for assessment.
The subsequent day, a lawyer representing the board and college, William Johnson, emailed Brown asking for his resignation, based on the lawsuit. “I perceive that if the Resignation is just not submitted by you at the moment that the Board will take vital motion to determine that you’ve been relieved as President of the College,” the e-mail mentioned.
In Kentucky State’s response to Brown’s criticism, the college denies it pressured him to resign to forestall him from receiving the total severance he can be entitled to if he was fired with out trigger.
In the meantime, state Rep. James Tipton, a Republican, has sponsored a invoice that will mortgage $23 million to the college for the 2021-22 fiscal yr. It will additionally require Kentucky State’s administration to supply no less than 4 updates per yr by means of the 2024-25 fiscal yr about the way it’s bettering its administration.