Bill Hamilton's Summons and Complaint (W0238403)

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Text of Bill Hamilton's Summons and Complaint (W0238403)

  • STATE OF NEW YORKSUPREME COURT: COUNTY OF ONONDAGA=======================================

    WILLIAM E. HAMILTON

    Plaintiff,v.

    THE BOARD OF EDUCATION of the JORDAN-ELBRIDGE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, MARY L.ALLEY, DIANA M. FOOTE, JEANNE E. PIEKLIK,PENNY L. FEENEY and CONSTANCE E. DRAKE (the"Board Defendants"), SUSAN A. GORTON, PAULA L.VANMINOS, LAWRENCE J. ZACHER and JAMES R.FROIO (the "Employee Defendants") and DANNY L.MEVEC and ALICIA A. MATTIE (the "ConsultantDefendants") and MARY MADONNA,

    Defendants.=======================================

    TO THE ABOVE NAMED DEFENDANT(S):

    SUMMONS

    Index No.: _

    RJI No.: _

    YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED to answer the complaint in this action and to serve

    a copy of your answer on the Plaintiffs attorney within twenty (20) days after the service of thissummons, exclusive of the day of service (or within thirty (30) days after the service is completeifthis summons is not personally delivered to you within the State of New York); and in case ofyour failure to appear or answer, judgment will he- n against you by default for the reliefdemanded herein.

    Dated: October 11,2013

    Dennis G. O'Hara, Esq.O'HARA, O'CONNELL & CIOTOLIAttorneys for Plaintiffs7207 East Genesee StreetFayetteville, New York 13066(315) 451-3810

  • SUPREME COURTSTATE OF NEW YORK

    WILLIAM E. HAMILTON

    - against-

    ONONDAGA COUNTY

    Plaintiff,

    THE BOARD OF EDUCATION of the JORDAN-ELBRIDGE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, MARY L.ALLEY, DIANA M. FOOTE, JEANNE E. PIEKLIK,PENNY L. FEENEY and CONSTANCE E. DRAKE (the"Board Defendants"), SUSAN A. GORTON, PAULA L.VANMINOS, LAWRENCE J. ZACHER and JAMES R.FROIO (the "Employee Defendants") and DANNY L.MEVEC and ALICIA A. MATTIE (the "ConsultantDefendants") and MARY MADONNA,

    Defendants.

    VERIFIED COMPLAINT

    Index No.: _

    Plaintiff, WILLIAM E. HAMILTON, by and through his attorneys, O'HARA,

    O'CONNELL & CIOTOLI, for his verified complaint against the defendants, states and alleges

    as follows:

    I

    THE PARTIES

    1. Plaintiff, William E. Hamilton ("Hamilton"), is a resident of the Town of

    Skaneateles, County of Onondaga, and State of New York. He was the Assistant Superintendent

    of Business and Finance of the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District (the "District") from

    June 2003 until that position was abolished as hereinafter described effective June 30, 2013.

    Hamilton earned tenure in that position as of June 18, 2006.

    {W0236466.1}

  • 2. The District is a municipal corporation organized under and existing pursuant to

    Article 37 ofthe New York Education Law, with administrative offices located in the Village of

    Jordan, New York. The defendant Board of Education (the "Board") is the governing body of

    the District.

    3. The defendant Mary Madonna ("Madonna") is named as a party because of the

    relief sought in the Second and Third Causes of Action against the Board. These causes of

    action assert that the Board was legally required to discontinue Madonna's employment when it

    abolished the position of Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance but, instead, illegally

    discontinued Hamilton's employment.

    4. With the exception of Madonna, the individual defendants fall into one of three

    categories (i.e., the "Board Defendants," the "Employee Defendants" or the "Consultant

    Defendants") as hereinafter described.

    The Board Defendants

    5. The first category of defendants are those individuals who were previously

    members of the Board and who, on several occasions over a considerable period of time,

    individually and collectively violated their oaths of office, ignored their statutory obligations and

    abused and exceeded their authority by committing a series of acts against Hamilton and others,

    with malice and in bad faith, to promote their own personal interests. These individuals are

    Mary L. Alley ("Alley"), Jeanne E. Pieklik ("Pieklik"), Diana M. Foote ("Foote"), Penny L.

    Feeney ("Feeney") and Constance E. Drake ("Drake") (collectively, the "Board Defendants").

    6. Alley was a member of the Board from July 2004 through June 2011, and

    President of the Board for the 2008-09 through 2010-11 school years. She was a member of the

    {W0236466.1} 2

  • Board at the time that several of the events hereinafter alleged occurred and was the prime actor

    in planning and carrying out said acts.

    7. Pieklik was a member of the Board from July 2001 through June 2011, and was

    an influential participant in several of the events and actions against Hamilton as hereinafter

    alleged.

    8. Foote was employed by the District as the District's Treasurer until the fall of

    2005. As Treasurer, she reported to Hamilton and she abruptly quit her employment, with no

    notice, when Hamilton constructively criticized her job performance. Foote thereafter became a

    member of the Board from July 2008 until June 30, 2011. She was vice-president of the Board

    during the 2010-11 school year. Foote was a member of the Board at the time that several of the

    events hereinafter alleged occurred and, acting in concert with other Board Defendants,

    committed a series ofmalicious, retaliatory and unwarranted acts against Hamilton.

    9. Feeney was a member of the Board from July 2003 through June 30, 2012. She

    was vice-president of the Board for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years. Feeney was a

    member of the Board at the time that several of the events hereinafter alleged occurred and,

    acting in concert with other Board Defendants, was responsible for conceiving and carrying out

    several ofthe acts against Hamilton as hereinafter alleged.

    10. Drake was a member of the Board from July 2009 through June 30, 2012 and was

    vice-president of the Board for the 2011-12 school year. She was a member of the Board at the

    time that several of the events hereinafter alleged occurred and, acting in concert with other

    Board Defendants, was a prime actor in planning and carrying out several malicious actions

    against Hamilton.

    {W0236466.1} 3

  • The Employee Defendants

    11. The second category of individual defendants are those District employees who,

    personally and/or collectively, sought to ingratiate themselves with the Board Defendants and/or

    the Board by committing tortious, unethical and malicious acts toward Hamilton and others in

    bad faith to assist the Board Defendants in their efforts to terminate the employment of said

    individuals. In exchange for such collaboration, these District employees were rewarded with

    taxpayer supported employment, and/or promotions, and/or increased compensation and benefits.

    These rewards were bestowed by the Board without concern for equity or any rational

    compensation plan. These employees are Susan A. Gorton ("Gorton"), Paula L. VanMinos

    ("VanMinos"), Lawrence J. Zacher ("Zacher") and James R. Froio ("Froio") (collectively, the

    "Employee Defendants").

    12. Gorton was the District's Assistant Superintendent ofInstruction until she retired

    from the District on September 7, 2012. As hereinafter discussed, Gorton was a "friend" of the

    Board Defendants and she connived with those defendants to replace Marilyn Dominick

    ("Dominick") as the District's Superintendent of Schools so that she could be appointed to that

    position. In her efforts to ingratiate herself with the Board Defendants and the Board, Gorton

    wrongfully contrived grounds to terminate the employment of Hamilton and others.

    13. VanMinos was the District's Director of Operations from October 6, 2008 until

    she was fired by the Board in disgrace on May 16, 2011. Prior to her fall from grace, however,

    the Board Defendants and VanMinos schemed to have VanMinos replace Hamilton. After the

    Board suspended Hamilton in July 2010, it put VanMinos in charge of the District's Business

    Office and gave her significant salary increases and other benefits, including an unconscionable,

    unprecedented and illegal employment agreement. As hereinafter described, VanMinos sought

    {W0236466.1} 4

  • the favor of the Board Defendants by committing several malicious and devious acts to assist

    them in their efforts to terminate Hamilton's employment.

    14. Zacher was the District's Interim Superintendent of Schools from November 5,

    2010 until he was fired by the Board in disgrace on May 16, 2011. During the period of his

    employment by the District, Zacher had an illicit affair with VanMinos and, upon information

    and belief, allowed his judgment and actions to be unduly influenced by that relationship. In an

    apparent effort to impress VanMinos and/or the Board Defendants, Zacher took several

    malicious, unwarranted and illegal acts against Hamilton and others.

    15. Froio has been the District's Superintendent of Schools since July 1, 2011. Upon

    information and belief, he was appointed as Superintendent despite the fact that he had no prior

    experience in that position, mediocre academic credentials and limited professional

    accomplishments. Upon further information and belief, he obtained that appointment in

    exchange for promising the Board Defendants that he would assist them in their efforts to

    terminate the employment of Hamilton and other employees irrespective of the merits of doing

    so. Since his appointment, Froio has been responsible for a series of malicious acts against

    Hamilton and has committed extensive District resources to pursue several charges against

    Hamilton and others in mul