Dayton’s public housing authority paid $50,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by the agency’s former human resources director, who claims she was fired for blowing the whistle on improper pay raises at the agency.
The agreement between Greater Dayton Premier Management and former HR director Karen Boneske was signed last month. GDPM spent $24,566 in legal fees on the lawsuit and settlement, according to agency records.
The settlement, obtained by the Dayton Daily News using Ohio’s public records laws, says the agency “denies the legitimacy of (Boneske’s) claims.”
Those claims were spelled out in a December 2012 lawsuit filed after Boneske was fired in July 2012. In it, she claimed she was never given a reason for her termination, but contended it was because she performed an internal audit that found Mary Kosik, the administrative assistant for then-agency CEO Gregory Johnson, had received more than $25,000 in payouts not authorized under agency policy.
“As a result of (Boneske’s) involvement in the audit and report, (GDPM) terminated (her) employment,” the lawsuit alleged.
It claimed that she was justified in performing the audit under Ohio public policy against the misuse of public funds.
The audit was discovered and made public in a series of stories by the Daily News that found possible conflicts of interest by senior administrators, allegations of unfair treatment of employees by Johnson, and that records are missing for a property purchased from the agency by Johnson’s mother.
Johnson resigned in June 2012 and was given a $53,333 separation payment. He has since been hired as executive director of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Boneske was terminated by Johnson’s replacement, current interim director Al Prude.
GDPM officials and Boneske both declined to comment, citing a provision in the settlement prohibiting them from discussing it with anyone.
Last year, GDPM hired the law firm Dinsmore and Shohl to conduct a months-long internal review of the allegations raised by the Daily News and Boneske’s audit. It cost $79,921 and concluded with no written report, but with agency officials saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing.
Kosik is now an agency vice president.
GDPM has an annual budget of $46.5 million and owns or manages approximately 2,800 public housing apartments or homes in the Dayton region.