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Huron board member sues Fred Fox

Jessica Cuffman • May 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM

In response to fired superintendent Fred Fox’s defamation lawsuit against three Huron School board members, one of the board members is suing Fox in a counterclaim.

Read the court filing here. 

The board officially fired Fox April 2. He has also filed a second lawsuit against the district, appealing his termination and seeking further damages. Read it here.

Huron School’s 15-page answer to the defamation lawsuit includes a counterclaim by board member Donna Green, who alleges defamation and is seeking more than $25,000 for statements Fox and his attorney, W. Patrick Murray, allegedly made about her during the past year.

It specifically references statements Murray allegedly made while representing Fox at a special meeting in September 2012, when Fox was to answer the 23 allegations the board laid out against him as a basis for his firing.

Fox’s termination came on the heels of allegations he improperly submitted reimbursement requests for expenses after a trip to Arizona; maintained an inappropriate business relationship with a district vendor; and carried on an extramarital affair during school hours using school computers and email.

Murray presented Fox’s side of the story at the September hearing, where he allegedly made five statements that Green references in her counterclaim, each of them focusing on an allegation she misappropriated $7,000 in district money, according to lawsuit.

One such statement was false and defamatory, the court documents allege.

“Indeed, both Fox and Murray knew or had reason to know that Green had not wrongfully appropriated any money from the school system for herself,” Green’s attorney, Drew Legando, stated in the lawsuit. 

The dispute between Green and Fox stems from a 2009 decision to erect a memorial sign at the football stadium to replace a fallen tree. The project cost about $5,900 and was to be paid back as people purchased plaques to place on the structure, according to the lawsuit. 

The district fronted the initial $5,900, but it has yet to be paid back in full to the district, according to transcripts from Fox’s termination hearings.

Exactly which organization was supposed to pay back the money? This is where Green and Fox clash.

Fox and his attorney knew Green hadn’t received any money from the district, and she did not benefit financially at the district’s expense, according to Green’s counterclaim.

Murray sees it differently.

“The facts speak for themselves,” he said Tuesday. “The board was given incorrect information that the sign would be paid for by the alumni association.

“After that representation was made and that sign was constructed, she changed the story,” he said.

Transcripts from the hearings, available at sanduskyregister.com, show testimonies on the issue from Green and district treasurer Mike Weis. Green’s lawsuit references testimony by former North Point Educational Services Center superintendent Bill Lally, which is featured on pages 1,671 to 1,675 in the testimonies posted at sanduskyregister.com. 

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