CFCC explains legal expenses connected to Spring lawsuit

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Many of you have been asking questions about Cape Fear Community College's legal fees in the wake of the recent settlement agreement with former College President Ted Spring.

Spring alleged he was forced to resign in a closed session meeting in January 2015. The abrupt resignation came after a series of WECT investigative reports detailing purchases he made with his college-issued credit card.

Spring then sued the college, saying his right to due process was violated. After years of legal wrangling, CFCC announced last month it would pay Spring $120,000, roughly 6 months' severance pay, and the College's insurer, Wright Specialty Insurance, would pay an additional $348,000 to settle the case.

After submitting a public records request in mid-November for an account of any additional legal expenses CFCC incurred defending this case, we were told this week that the college's only out-of-pocket legal expenses were the $10,000 deductible paid to their insurance company.

CFCC Chief Communications Officer Rachel Nadeau said that was the extent of their legal expense "to pay specifically for the litigation defense in federal court."

"I do not have the exact amount of the legal fee expense charged to the insurance carrier because the College does not receive a copy of the legal fee invoices to Wright Specialty Insurance," Nadeau explained. "However, I understand that insurance coverage was a substantial savings to the College, as the legal fees for the litigation likely exceeded 30X that deductible amount for the College's representation in the case."

Nadeau did not say in her response to our records request how much additional money may have been paid to their regular attorneys Ward & Smith, specifically connected to the College's separation with Spring before he filed a lawsuit against them for wrongful termination.

Sources inside the college have also informed us that CFCC's insurance premiums for Directors and Officers Insurance have increased substantially in the wake of this lawsuit and settlement. We have asked Nadeau for those figures and are awaiting an answer to that question.

Nadeau did tell us that the college is paying another $56,748 in severance to Dr. Amanda Lee. Lee was promoted to replace Spring as CFCC president after his resignation. However, she announced her resignation this fall, effective December 31. Lee's severance is equivalent to 3 months' pay.

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