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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Comments

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?

whazup

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

Justme...

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.

UgtaBkdnMe

"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.

whazup

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

Kelly

I hope he wins

wiredmama222

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.

UgtaBkdnMe

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.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

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.

KURTje

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

whocares

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

Huron_1969

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

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