Insurance letter still a mystery

Huron Schools won't release reservation of rights letter from former insurer; board members expected to select new superintendent Monday
Alissa Widman Neese
Jul 7, 2013
A letter from a former insurer is the latest topic of disagreement between consistently split board members at Huron Schools.
 
It has been confirmed the document is a fairly common reservation of rights letter — on that much, board members can agree.
 
The point of contention, however, is what the letter’s contents mean for the district’s future. One board member suggests the letter offers disastrous financial details, while another says it doesn’t provide any new information.
 
Huron Schools officials refuse to publicly release the letter, citing attorney-client privilege after the Register emailed several public records requests to district treasurer Mike Weis this past month.
 
A reservation of rights letter is “an insurer’s notification to an insured that coverage for a claim may not apply,” according to the Glossary of Insurance Management Terms from the International Risk Management Institute. 
 
“Such a notification allows an insurer to investigate (or even defend) a claim to determine if coverage applies (in whole or in part) without waiving its rights to later deny coverage based on information revealed by the investigation,” according to the glossary.
 
Ohio School Plan, the district’s former insurer, dropped Huron Schools on July 1. The change was likely prompted by three lawsuits filed against the district in the past year, all related to the board’s 3-2 decision to fire former superintendent Fred Fox this spring. Fox is appealing the decision.
 
Board members selected Liberty Mutual Insurance as the district’s new insurer at a public meeting June 27, increasing its annual insurance costs from $38,000 to $61,000. Liberty Mutual Insurance will cover all future legal issues for the district, but it’s unknown how much of the district’s past and current issues Ohio School Plan will continue to cover.
 
At their June meeting, board members tiptoed around the topics included in the withheld reservations of rights letter during a public discussion. After a heated debate, a 3-2 majority ultimately decided to not release it, however, heeding their attorney’s advice. 
 
Board member Tim Sowecke, who voted against releasing it, said the “impromptu motion” inappropriately disregarded the district’s legal advice. As he understands it, the reservation of rights letter simply identifies every legal action taken against the district, all of their possible outcomes and what portion of legal costs Ohio School Plan would cover, he said.
 
“Personally I have no problem releasing it, but our treasurer sought the advice of our legal counsel, who said it should remain confidential,” Sowecke said. “It doesn’t tell anything we haven’t already known.”
 
But board member Kevin Asher, who made the motion to release the letter, contends it outlines harmful developments to the district’s finances, specifically in scenarios in which the district is forced to rehire Fox.
 
“I find it hard to believe anyone has a good reason why the public shouldn’t see it,” Asher said. “But you can easily put one and one together and figure out why some people don’t want it out there.”
 
Board members are expected to select a new district superintendent when they meet 6:30 p.m. Monday. The only item on the meeting agenda is to enter a closed-door session to discuss employment of personnel, but a vote could follow. The meeting is at the Shawnee Elementary School conference center. 
 
Want to go?
What: Huron school board meeting
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Shawnee Elementary School conference center, 712 Cleveland Road E.

Comments

donutshopwannabe

Attorney offered his opinion that the letter was covered by attorney/client privledge. The client can always waive this. Why hide it? Why cover it up? If it was good news they would release it. Can only be bad news. The District is in deep financial trouble, they think they can pass a 5.9 mil levy in the fall and they want to keep information like this from the voter. My bet is that this is bad news to the bottom line.

princedenny

If any school levy in Huron passes anytime soon, the residents are dumber than I thought.

Huron_1969

It is time to stay strong and stay the course. Informed citizens will continue to support the school board and do what is right for the district

Calling people dumb for having an opinion one way or the other just makes you look foolish

princedenny

The school board didn't do what was right for the district when it voted to fire Fox.

Huron_1969

Fair enough..... you have your right to choose which side you are on and vocalize it..... just don't call a community dumb. We are all in this together for better or worse

Nemesis

Sorry, but to support a board that withholds the very information necessary to make an informed decusion to support them is blind support, which is a hallmark of stupidity. Trust without accountability is gullibility.

princedenny

I'm not calling the community dumb at this point, but I definitely would if they vote in favor of a levy this Fall. That would be complete ignorance.

Tsu Dho Nimh

There is a renewal this fall. Will we be dumb to renew what we already have?

princedenny

My guess is it's the same levy the district conned you into passing when the system was being run by the state. So yes, passing the renewal would be ignorant.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Ask the Good Humor Man (Mr. Lighthouse). He has been telling folks that he has a copy. Certainly you know who I am referring to, Wannabe.

UgtaBkdnMe

Are there any other documents or requests that the treasurer isn't being honest about ?

donutshopwannabe

This is not a treasurer issue. Sowecke and crew voted 3-2 to not release it. This is a cover up. Period. They are hiding bad news.

UgtaBkdnMe

Ah, but it is. The Register has asked for other documents that the treasurer denies exists. Who benefits by his dishonesty ? Not the Three Stooges !

Slacker

Ah but it isn't. The school board directly hires, fires, and evaluates two people in a school district; the treasurer and superintendent. The Huron treasurer is under strict orders from his superiors (the board of education) to not release the letter. The treasurer would never take the fall for not releasing this document since it is a publically documented direct order from his superior not to release it. You elected the people that are possibly unlawfully withholding this document; the school board.

Tsu Dho Nimh

We all know that the treasurer would never take sides or act in an unprofessional way.

Huron_1969

For sure..... he runs a tight ship ya know. Basic accounting practices aren't important either. If they did, the Arizona trip wouldn't be an issue. He coulda shoulda told the entire board the correct way to handle it

Justme...

It's not a coverup it's a policy supported by law. If this is a cover up, every public agency in Ohio is "covering up". Are you fighting for every document that the law says is not public record or just this one? They are trying to create chaos where none exists. Don't fall for it.

whazup

You're right. Why is the SR even reporting what these two clowns say?

UgtaBkdnMe

"The change was likely prompted by three lawsuits filed against the district in the past year, all related to the board’s 3-2 decision to fire former superintendent Fred Fox this spring."

1 filed by Fox, 2 filed by Asher. So far, one has been thrown out of court. Legando - 1, Murray - 0

Huron_1969

Fox and friends will use anything they can to deflect attention away from the real root cause. Once upon a time, Fred and Kevin vowed to put the school system first, but have proven over and over that is not true

Even with the insurance increase, the district is saving money when compared to the wasted dollars Fox's lack of leadership was letting fly out the window

Informed

Princedenny, the school board certainly did do what was good for the district. When a leader, instead of leading by example, leads by intimidation, threats, manipulation, and utter disregard for the ethics which accompany his profession, he has no business being a leader.

Gardenman

I don't think the letter is as exciting as many think it is. In a small town like Huron sooner or later parts of it are going to leak out anyway.

I think too in the end when all is said and done the 3 on the Board will say we got what we wanted....got rid of Fox before his contract ended, Fox is going to walk away with bags of money from a out of court settlement/payoff of his contract and deflamation of character etc. and we good old John Q public are going to be left holding the EMPTY bag. The Board maybe some of the current ones will tell us vote for the levy....its for the kids, don't hold a grudge, move on, its only a cup of coffee a day in cost, etc. and after some repeated tries at the ballot box the levy will pass and as always John Q. public, alas you and me. will end up paying for this whole fiasco.

Bottom line it's small town politics played over the card table and social gatherings around Huron.

Huron_1969

I don't think the letter is as exciting as many think it is
Exactly !!! This isn't rocket science

UgtaBkdnMe

What could be exciting is a recent records request that the treasurer can't release under R.C. 102.06(F). Wonder why he told the paper that no one made a records request when indeed an agency did ? Who would benefit from the lie ? Not the Three Stooges ! P.S. - the records don't pertain to Freddy !

Tsu Dho Nimh

Just because Mr. Asher and Mr. Caporini want to make a big issue out of the letter does not mean the district is facing financial ruin. It is just another attempt to deflect from the REAL situation at hand. Mr. Caporini should focus on the mess he is in instead of stirring up more cr@p for the schools. Don't be surprised if a state office asks him to resign.

This evening the board will vote in a new superintendent and the district will move forward. It will be interesting to see if Asher and Caporini will continue to dig in their heels and cause more problems. It they cannot (or will not) support the new superintendent, they need to resign ASAP. Fox is not coming back! Even if he wins his lawsuit, the judge cannot tell the board to hire him back. What he would be entitled to is the unpaid salary on his contract.

whazup

Maybe Cap shouldn't have broken the 9th commandment and lied in front of the OEC at the March meeting. Gotta love the irony that he created his own mess.

Princess87

Fred Fox deserves what he gets. How many lives has he ruined for his own benefit. His lies keep growing. Perhaps the only person to believe in him is his family. Maybe they deserve to know the real truth. Someone know..perhaps his buddy the "Good Humor Man" I think he looks more like an unkempt walrus..cheers