Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by former Parks and Rec assistant director

ariquelmy@ledger-enquirer.comMay 11, 2012 

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a former Columbus Parks and Recreation assistant director, saying Cammy Currie’s complaint isn’t sufficient to support the argument that she was fired because of her race or gender.

Currie filed suit in October, alleging Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin, City Manager Isaiah Hugley and former Parks and Rec Director Tony Adams “conspired to defraud the city and discharge without justified cause its employee, Carmellia Jean Currie who would not participate in the illegal activities.”

U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land states that Currie later amended that complaint, stating she was fired “because she was a white female who knew of her superiors’ wrong doing.”

In his Friday order dismissing Currie’s suit, Land says her allegations of racial or gender discrimination have no support from the factual allegations.

“The only facts that she alleges ... is an alleged statement by City Manager Hugley that ‘there was a need to get rid of the White Woman.’” Land states. “This comment standing alone does not plausibly support the conclusion that Currie was fired because she was a ‘White Woman’ or that race or gender played a role in the discharge.

“It is not illegal race or gender discrimination to fire ‘a White Woman’ because ‘she knew of her superiors’ wrong doing.’ It is illegal to fire her because she was white or because she was female.”

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson hailed Land’s ruling on Friday.

“It is a well-reasoned opinion by Judge Land,” Tomlinson said. “We’re certainly happy to see it dismissed. We’re going to be moving forward.”

Currie’s suit alleged Hugley, Goodwin and Adams removed financial controls on basketball games, pools and the marina to eliminate the accountability of funds. Those funds would then be used for their personal use.

Columbus Council fired Adams on Sept. 28, 2010, a month after Columbus police arrested him on charges of defrauding the city by funneling more than $200,000 in public funds into a private bank account he and recreation specialist Herman Porter set up with the city’s tax-exempt ID number.

On March 10, 2011, Adams pleaded guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy to defraud the city. Porter pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of theft.

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