Fox fights back

Fired Huron Schools superintendent takes aim at board members who voted him out
Jessica Cuffman
Apr 4, 2013


Fred Fox has already upped the ante against the three Huron school board members who voted Tuesday to fire him.         

This past week, Fox added board members Donna Green and Scott Slocum as defendants in a defamation lawsuit he had filed months ago against Tim Sowecke, the third board member who has railed against him.    

It remains to be seen if Fox will appeal the board’s 3-2 decision Tuesday night to fire him. 

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I don't have a dog in this race but, when is the fat lady gonna come out and sing?


Not until Fox hits rock bottom. There's no limit to how low this guy will go


get them fred!


The point is. He is not a saint. That is clear, no matter how the investigation was carried out. If he were back in his original position how could he, of all people, fire anybody with his background? That would mean that every employee could behave the way he did and not be fired. There would be no respect for him as a "boss". It's clear he is furious at certain board members and there could never be a professional working relationship between them again. Did anybody really think it would have worked if he was given his job back? If he is so squeaky clean, then he should have no problem getting another job.

Tsu Dho Nimh



Well, that didn't take long.


In Mr. Fox's mind it is acceptable to carry on an affair during school hours. In Mr. Fox's mind it is acceptable to leave your office, leave the building or leave the area during school hours to carry on the affair.

This practice must have been acceptable when Mr. Caporni, Mr. Asher and Mrs. Buela were the majority block on the school board.

My O My how things changed when Mr. Swoecke replace Mrs. Buela.


But wasn't the football coach guilty of the same thing?

Tsu Dho Nimh

If he was, then the superintendent and the board at the time should have dealt with it. Ask Mr. Caporini why they didn't address it. He is the only current person who was part of that group. Fox was addressed as as soon as it came to light.

BW1's picture

DSG, does the superintendent's contract specify his working hours? He certainly doesn't punch a timeclock. Lots of salaried people take long lunches, for various reasons.


Look at his contract and you will see that it most certainly does. It doesn't say 7 -4 but it says during the normal hours of the district and would exceed those hours as needed.


I have mixed feelings about this situation. I understand both sides but looking at it from a legal sense, I don't think board followed proper protocol and jumped the gun a little early. I have a feeling that fox is going to get some money before its all said and done.


Maybe it's time for the Huron taxpayers to come together and file a class action suite against Fox. Fraud, theft, failure to uphold his position, etc, etc, etc. We've been ripped off - what's good for the goose is good for the gander

Tsu Dho Nimh

I would be willing if you are serious.


I am very serious

Tsu Dho Nimh

We'll have to figure out a way to discusss this : )


I'm down ;)

Julie R.

I say instead of filing a class-action lawsuit against Fox, how about the taxpayers filing a class-action lawsuit against that bottom-feeder Markling lawyer and his $90K rip-off bill!


The board should have negotiated a buyout to end his employment. This is going to drag out for years, continually reopening wounds and preventing the community from healing.

And draining hundreds of thousands of dollars from education.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Not saying that the insurance company will cover this for sure, but it most likely will so money probably will not come from the general fund. Also, juries historically award smaller amounts of money when the defendant is a school district compared to private companies.

Julie R.

This is what the fired Sandusky police chief Kim Nuesse should have done when the city of Sandusky did everything they could to destroy her financially and ruin her career. I used to wonder why her attorney Ron Bailey never even suggested it ....... but then I also used to wonder why Bailey went along with the rent-a-judge Cirigliano as the hearing officer when everybody around knew the close ties Cirigliano had with Erie County and Kevin Baxter.

That said, everybody knew what was coming next in the Fox fiasco so this is no surprise.


There is no comparison between Kim Nuesse and Fred Fox. Nuesse has character, ethics, morals and commitment to community, Fox does not demonstate those qualities. None of us can speculate why Kim did not go the "I'm gonna sue you route", but I personally like to think it was because of her professionalism

Julie R.

I agree about no comparison. My point was the unprofessional conduct of lawyers and the other unprofessional crap that goes on in Erie County. Nuesse had grounds and could have easily won, yet her lawyer never even suggested it. On the flip side of the coin, a Murray didn't hesitate with this one.

Still Sold

Big victory 3 Stooges.

You fired a man who was exhonerated by a referee you paid $100,000 to render a decision and then ignorred the decision.

This is actually the best thing that could have happened to Fred Fox, because now.. No matter how much you all speculate, Fred Fox is going to have an enormis pay day and doesn't have to go back to work for this board.

Talk all you want people. You will continue to pay for this board's mistakes.

All they had to do was non-renew Fred Fox at the end of his contract and we wouldn't be having this conversation.


The insurance is currently covering costs and covered the $100,000, according to Asher at the meeting. The spreading of misinformation is really getting old.


Couldn't agree more!


@still sold...although I am not fond of calling them the three stooges, this is the one posting on here so far that seems to have it right...completely correct. It was sooooo simple and they made it sooo difficult. It could truly have been over and done with.


Remember sold the board did not choose to go to the ODE Hearing. The choice to go to the referee was Fred's as a part of his due process. Fred did so knowing the decision holds no weight regarding the board's final decision. Fred has told many around town that his plan was to sue job or no job so what does the board have to lose? Bring back a poor leader with questionable ethics & get sued or fire him & get sued?? As a taxpayer I say let's move forward & make a statement that his behavior will not be tolerated & HCS has higher standards for the superintendent!


I heard the same thing - Fred was going to sue no matter what happened. His group does run their mouths.


It is beyond my understanding how anyone can read the Markling report, testimony from the ODE hearing & the 17 page termination statement & still feel Fred will end up with money. Testimony for most people remains the same except those with direct personnel ties to Fred. No one from Fred's camp,including Fred, have been able to provide facts indicating he is not guilty, only sling mud at others. The old yes I did it but so is everyone else. Very weak.

Truth and Justice

With gusto I read the Register article regarding Fox adding Slocum and Green to the defamation lawsuit. I find Mr. Legando’s comments interesting: “For a year, Fox claimed that Sowecke acted alone. Now that Green and Slocum voted against him, Fox is changing his story and claiming they acted in concert”, for the following reasons: 1) If you check the date on the revised suit, you will see that it was filed PRIOR to the 4/2/2013 meeting. 2) The reason that Slocum and Green were added is that if you read the testimony from the hearing you will find that Sowecke said that he told Slocum what he was doing and that Green signed the paperwork. That is now new information that came out in testimony under oath. So certainly it appears that they acted in “concert” – at least that is what the testimony says. Whether that is true or not who knows -- but the law suit will bring that out. 3) Interesting also that the resolution passed on May 22, says “----- turning all information from the investigative report over ---“, it clearly does not say turn over the report. 4) The motion also does not authorize an individual from the Board to act. Board Policy BBAA and others state that: “An individual Board member has power only when the Board, by vote has delegated authority to him/her.” 5) In Larry Vuillemin’s testimony he states that Mr. Gashen assured him that anything going down there (OEC) would be filtered through his office. Also note that Mr. Gaschen attended the executive session where the resolution was developed on May 22. 6) Mr. Gaschen then issues an email on June 4th to Mr. Slocum that points out the process that must be followed to avoid having the Markling report become a Public record. But this email had no bearing as Mr. Sowecke had the wheels in motion on May 23. So bottom-line – when you grind all this up and read the testimony closely, it is clear that Gashen had the lead to figure out how to take the “information from the report” to the OEC and not the report. Mr. Sowecke clearly did not follow the agreement made by the Board and the testimony validates that Green and Slocum were in “concert”. Obviously, having the Markling report get into the public is what clearly defamed Mr. Fox. And in fact the testimony validates that this is exactly what Sowecke did in concert with Green and Slocum, despite the recommendation of the Board’s general counsel, Dane Gaschen. Now the question is – will the insurance company support all three of them in this defense because if they don’t it will cost Slocum, Green and Sowecke big bucks. While Mr. Legando’s time maybe pro bono, filing fees, deposition costs, etc., etc., are not and will come out of the pockets of the three. Just getting to a court decision will cost them tons of money. Murray has deep pockets – I’m not even sure if he will even charge Fox. Also—essentially the summary judgment submitted to have this dismissed is very weak and shallow and will not be acted on due to misinterpretation of the facts and that the individual Board members were acting without authority delegated by BBAA. Just take a few minutes and read the testimony and you will all get a better picture. Murray is sharp and the bottom-line is that this is what he does, this is his expertise, and his firm sues. This how they made all their money. He is an expert with years of experience. It will be interesting to see how this plays out – youth vs. experience. Also as Asher said the other night – the testimony is the testimony, it can’t be changed and will stand. Where do you put your money?


And that's exactly how it happened, I'm sure. Does Erie not have any legal stuff for you to do today?


Don't they also have to prove that a)the Markling report was false and b)they knew the Markling report was false? Good luck with that considering all the sworm testimony that backed it up.


"6) Mr. Gaschen then issues an email on June 4th to Mr. Slocum that points out the process that must be followed to avoid having the Markling report become a Public record. But this email had no bearing as Mr. Sowecke had the wheels in motion on May 23. So bottom-line – when you grind all this up and read the testimony closely, it is clear that Gashen had the lead to figure out how to take the “information from the report” to the OEC and not the report. Mr. Sowecke clearly did not follow the agreement made by the Board and the testimony validates that Green and Slocum were in “concert”. Obviously, having the Markling report get into the public is what clearly defamed Mr. Fox."

Now Bob, how do you come to that conclusion? Please show us a situation where it was ruled that a confidential record became a public record by submitting it to the OEC? Judge Binette has already stated that it doesn’t and so has the OEC. Any information that is submitted is held confidential, no matter how it was submitted, so how is that defamation? If you have evidence that refutes that, please share. I question why Mr. Gashen stated that there was a special procedure. Sounds like he wanted to take charge for personal reasons, probably the same reasons Ms. Vonthron did not want to speak with him.

Truth and Justice

It’s a very simple concept. Yes, the OEC will hold everything confidential. I agree there but that is not what broke the Privilege. A privilege is established between the attorney and clients – in this case Markling, Gaschen and each of the five board members. Once the “client ring” is broken the privilege is lost. Any lawyer will tell you that – go and ask them. So as soon as Sowecke handed it off, the ring was broken. Really has nothing to do with the OEC and it did not matter who he gave it to. Plus he did not have Board authorized authority and the resolution said take the “information” not the report. Why is this so difficult to understand? Just go back and read the testimony. He major league screwed up. The issue here is that everyone is working on emotions and feelings, Taich ruled on facts and the law. Binette has never ruled on this. I’m done—have fun with this.


How do you take the "information" without giving the report? How does your Fox flavored kool aid taste? I bet it's bitter.


I hope he wins


Kelly, you are a brave soul to state your mind in a room dominated by Fox haters who want to see him lose big time. I admire your fortitude and honesty. Good for you. That takes real guts and determination and honesty. You deserve a medal for your courage. He truly is the underdog in a fight against most of a town out to get him.


How on earth do you figure that because the report was submitted to a government agency that holds it in confidence that it broke the privelege? For the record, it is JUDGE Binette and ATTORNEY Taich.


Just pretend you are employer and fred fox comes in and puts in an application. There is a zero chance anyone would hire him so why should huron be stuck with him. I am not in the district but i know we would not hire him in ours. Maybe las vegas or california they roll like him.

Señor Clown

From what I've seen in the past, there seems to be a collective of dysfunctional school superintendents that bounce from district to unwitting district. They are always welcomed with open arms into some new small community, negotiate a lucrative contract, and then eventually find disfavor with the school board, note that their public approval is plummeting, and find themselves as part of, or contributing to, a hostile work environment. At this point of no return, the district has collectively shifted focus from it's delegated task to one of conflict resolution. Often times, the fastest way to make this problem go away is to offer a contract buyout and a glaring letter of recommendation in order to push the problem off on someone else.

I'm of course speaking in generalizations here, and it will be interesting to see what happens with this particular case, which has long since escalated beyond the hope for peaceful resolution. Unfortunately it's become so personal and vindictive that I fear no matter the outcome, its divisive effect on the board, and district as a whole, is damage already done.


Look young people, this is what to expect with most in "authority." Egos that are big. Vanity also.


I agree with Huron_1969 The tax payer should file suite against Fred for non performance at work


Working on a means of getting started without getting derailed - more to come