WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Former Cape Fear Community College President Ted Spring and his attorney on Thursday claimed the college's board mislead the public when it recently denied any wrongdoing in Spring's departure from the college.
Spring abruptly resigned in January 2015 after a series of WECT investigative reports detailing purchases he made with college money. He sued the college's board two months later, alleging he was forced to resign.
After more than two and a half years of litigation, CFCC's Board of Trustees announced in October of this year it had reached a settlement with Spring, saying it "had looked forward to proving Dr. Spring's allegations to be false," but time and mounting legal fees made it "apparent that a settlement should be pursued."
"That's like throwing in the towel and declaring you would have won the fight in the next round; it's ridiculous," Gary K. Shipman, Spring's attorney, said in a news release. "The board can't hide from the fact that it falsely accused Ted Spring of wrongdoing and wrongfully terminated him to further the political agenda of certain board members. The board can't run from the fact that it paid Ted Spring to avoid a shellacking for that disgraceful conduct, not to mention what it cost to defend the indefensible."
A US District Court judge on Tuesday ordered the college and its insurer pay Spring a combined $468,000 as part of the settlement. A term of the agreement was that nothing in it "shall be construed to be an admission by [CFCC] of any wrongdoing."
The release claims media reports regarding Spring's reimbursements, which WECT obtained through a public records request with the college, were "false and misleading." But prior to his resignation, Spring reimbursed the college more than $2,500 in expenses after several WECT reports of his spending. WECT stands by its reporting.
The release specifically alleges Woody White, CFCC board member and current chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, tried to use the media to "undermine" Spring's work with the college over the college's public response to White's criticism of funding for the AETC building.
"My career was destroyed by lies, innuendo and political agendas, all to the detriment of the College." Spring said in the release. "The settlement of this case will not restore the damage done and everything that has been taken from me. The Board's actions have come at a tremendous cost to the college, financially and in terms of its reputation, and the damage is ongoing."