Fox fights firing; files suit to get job back

Former Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox has appealed his termination and is suing three of the five board members for more than $175,000, in addition to his back pay.
Jessica Cuffman
Apr 30, 2013

Fox’s attorney, W. Patrick Murray, filed the lawsuit Monday, naming Huron Schools and board members Tim Sowecke, Scott Slocum and Donna Green as defendants.

The three voted to fire him April 2, a climax after a year of investigation, termination and court proceedings that have created political turmoil in the district. 

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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.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in Erie County Common Pleas Court, Fox relies heavily on the March 11 termination hearing officer’s report that recommended Fox be reinstated to his super-intendent’s position with back pay.

“Not only did the impartial referee carefully listen to each witness’ testimony during the hearing he studied the entire hearing transcript numerous times,” the lawsuit states.

In the end, the referee found the board had no reason to fire Fox. 

Even so, in a split vote, Sowecke, Slocum and Green disagreed with the recommendation and voted to fire Fox, trumping the votes of board members Kevin Asher and John Caporini, who wanted to reinstate him.

Fox is suing the district on multiple counts, including wrongful termination, violation of Ohio public records law, civil conspiracy, invasion of privacy and defamation for statements made at the termination hearing. He seeks a reversal and expungement of his termination, reinstatement of his contract, backpay with interest, attorney and litigation fees, and compensatory and punitive damages.

Sowecke, Slocum and Green’s conduct has been characterized by “hatred, ill will” and a “spirit of revenge,” according to the 40-page lawsuit.

The three board members, the lawsuit claims, “intentionally misrepresented the testimony presented at the termination hearing and intentionally misrepresented the findings of the impartial referee.”

The board referenced testimony from four witnesses when refuting the referee’s recommendation: former high school principal John Ruf; elementary principal Tanny Vonthron; and two former North Point Educational Service Center employees, Bill Lally and Dan McCarthy.

In response to Fox’s most recent lawsuit, attorney Drew Legando, who represents Sowecke and Green, offered a statement by email.

Is it Fox’s position that the district should be punished because board members listened when four of the most well respected administrators in Erie County—Mr. Lally, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Ruf, and Ms. Vonthron—chose to tell the truth about Fox’s misconduct?” he said.

”Strange, coming from someone who claims to care about the students, teachers, and taxpayers of Huron,” Legando said.

Comments

donutshopguy

Is he suing the three individuals privately? Is he suing the whole board? Is he suing the school system?

Hoss McGee

It states who he is suing in the first paragraph!

Justme...

He is really suing the district, because the board members have indemnification through the insurance. That's my understanding, anyway.

Kelly

Good for him. I hope he wins.

Cobbwebb12345

Like to know which of the new defendant's insurance company is going to cave in first. Believe me. At this stage, insurance people take over, and will decide the best route "they" should take ---- to believe the board members will win.....or, if not, go for that million dollar settlement.

Well, you "all" know the Murray team, and then, an Erie County judge? -- unless both abstain.

Now, personally, I feel the ego of the three board members will be deflated when their insurance people believe what's ahead. More than dollars, any settlement should include an apology from the three people because they threw the first stone And are they all "without?" I can't remember that next word.

Good luck Mr. Fox.

Huron_1969

Fox continues to find new ways to sink lower and lower

Hoss McGee

Anybody hear about the new hardware store coming to Huron? Guess it's called Fred Fox Hardware. Guess it's going to be on E. Cleveland Rd.

Huron_1969

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

UgtaBkdnMe

Hoss, is there still a trailer sitting in the wooded area on Berlin Rd? Wonder if BFI stopped looking for it ?

Hoss McGee

?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Did BFI sell the trailer for $1? LOL

SoldOnAcorns

We are a proud community :D

What will they be selling there Hoss ? Whips, chains, lack of integrity, ego or will it be a DIY place - on how to cheat on your spouse on company time and get away with it.

good old boy

ya that sounds good, the football coach can manage it, lord knows he can play that game....

Huron_1969

If Fox somehow wins a lawsuit, he should be charged for prostitution.... since the end result would be getting paid for sex

OH-IO

What a hot ghetto mess this is. LOL!

The Answer Person

GO FRED! WINNING!!!