Former CFO files lawsuit over termination

By on November 13, 2017

By Shelby Brown–

Former U of L Foundation Chief Financial Officer Jason Tomlinson filed a lawsuit Nov. 9 alleging he was made the “fall guy” in the wake of the release of the foundation’s scathing audit in June. The lawsuit said Tomlinson received no notice, basis or hearing prior to his termination.

“No reason could have been given because none existed,” Tomlinson’s lawyer, Don Cox said in the lawsuit.

The suit alleges the Foundation voted to terminate Tomlinson in closed session but never released a resolution regarding the decision.

“The University of Louisville Foundation stands by its decision regarding Mr. Tomlinson and will not discuss personnel matters further,” Foundation Executive Director Keith Sherman said in a statement.

Tomlinson was CFO under former university President James Ramsey before he was ousted in 2016. Tomlinson’s dismissal followed that of Kathleen Smith, Ramsey’s former administrative officer.

Initially hired in 2015, Tomlinson’s base salary was $260,000. His contract was to extend through 2021. The suit details Tomlinson received unemployment benefits. Tomlinson’s employment contract says these benefits are obtained if the employee is let go with no fault.

The termination letter from Sherman gave no reason for the decision to fire Tomlinson.

The former CFO was placed on “mutually agreed upon leave” in the summer, barely 24 hours after the audit release. The lawsuit calls the company that conducted the audit, Alvarez and Marsal, “paid character assassins whose job was to blacken the image of certain employees.”

The June 8 release of the forensic audit revealed damning information about the foundation. It alleged gross overspending, hidden transactions and deliberate obscuring of information from the media occurred under Ramsey’s former administration.

U of L hired Jonathan Pruitt as the new CFO Nov. 3. Pruitt, a Kentucky native, takes office in January.

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