WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It's been three years since Dr. Ted Spring resigned his position as president of Cape Fear Community College. The fallout from his departure cost the college a great deal of money, and WECT continues to learn more about the magnitude of those expenses.
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 fall it would pay Spring $120,000, roughly six months severance pay, and the college's insurer, Wright Specialty Insurance, would pay an additional $348,000 to settle the case.
CFCC paid a $10,000 deductible to file a claim with the insurance company to handle that federal litigation, but WECT wanted to know if there were additional legal expenses incurred before the case landed in federal court. We've now learned the college paid their regular attorneys at Ward & Smith $40,453 connected to Spring's separation.
"These fees were incurred in the early months of 2015," CFCC Spokeswoman Rachel Nadeau explained, adding this figure was a broad estimate of anything that may be considered "connected to" Spring's separation from CFCC.
"This cost included more than just dealing with Dr. Spring's threatened lawsuit or the disagreement over his departure," Nadeau said. "It also included working with the State auditor in its investigation, handling the tender of the claim to the insurance carrier, meeting with Board leadership to address the departure of the President and the transition associated with that departure, and assisting the College with litigation holds and data/document retention in preparation for a potential lawsuit."
Some college employees have also told WECT the college's insurance expenses have gone up as a result of filing this claim. We asked CFCC if that was true.
"Our total insurance premium (premium for all coverages combined) has gone down $30,334 since 2014," Nadeau answered. "Our professional liability since 2014 (the premium for coverage the claim was paid under) has gone up $857, an average of 2 percent a year over the past four years."