A recent lawsuit against the Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees has been moved to federal court.
The suit, filed by former CFCC president Dr. Ted Spring in March, will now be heard in U.S. District Court, according to a notice of removal filed April 29 by attorney John Martin of Ward and Smith, who is representing trustees in the matter. It was approved the same day.
Martin writes in the notice that Spring’s accusations – specifically that trustees violated his civil rights – would be best handled in federal court.
Spring sued CFCC on March 27, claiming both a breach of contract and deprivation of civil rights occurred when he was forced to resign from his post earlier this year.
His attorney, Gary Shipman, argues in the suit that appointees to the CFCC Board of Trustees are largely politically motivated, and that motivation created a conflict of interest that ultimately led to Spring’s dismissal.
New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, who also sits on the CFCC Board of Trustees, and Bill Turner, vice chairman of the board of trustees, are specifically cited in the lawsuit.
Spring alleges that after a public debate between White, in his role as commissioner, and Spring regarding $40 million in voter-approved debt remaining from a 2008 bond referendum for a final round of CFCC buildings – and after Spring refused White’s requests for “back room meetings” – the board of trustees informed him in a January closed session that his contract would not be renewed when it expired in November.
White has called the allegations “false and absurd.”
Spring’s lawsuit came just weeks after he rescinded his resignation, which he now claims was forced by trustees.
He is seeking immediate reinstatement as president and compensation exceeding $25,000 for damages suffered due to loss of employment, wages, opportunities, as well as harm done to his professional reputation.
Ahead of the case being heard in U.S. District Court, the college announced last week that trustees had set a timeline for hiring a new campus president. Dr. Amanda Lee, Vice President of Instruction, has served as interim president since January.
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.