RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The long-time track and field coach at a historically black college in North Carolina is one of four people suing the school, alleging wrongful termination.
The plaintiffs claim they were retaliated against by officials at St. Augustine's University for raising concerns about how the school was being run, WRAL reported Thursday. The lawsuit names as defendants members of the school's board of trustees and the current interim president.
School officials could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
Last week, the attorney for coach George Williams said his client was made to choose between taking a 50% pay cut and becoming athletic director emeritus or leaving the university where he won 39 national track championships. Williams also said he experienced age discrimination and attempts to damage his reputation.
According to the lawsuit, when Williams complained, school trustee Brian Boulware threatened to fire him and have his name removed from the school's athletic complex.
Williams and the school’s former interim president, Gaddis Faulcon, said they were retaliated against for raising concerns about how the school was being run. Faulcon, who served as interim president from March 2019 until March 2020, claims in the suit that he was pressured by Boulware, and fellow trustees James Perry and Maria Lumpkin to engage in “age discrimination and other unlawful conduct" as a condition of having his contract renewed.
Lumpkin succeeded Faulcon as interim president.
A third plaintiff, Kyle Brazile, said he raised issues about the treatment of Williams and Faulcon among others, and that the named board members sought to remove him because of that. Brazile served as the university’s general counsel.
According to the lawsuit, Clarence King, who managed the school's facilities and construction, said he discovered that the university was “potentially misappropriating government funds,” but that when he reported it, Boulware, Perry and Lumpkin moved to fire him.