CLEVELAND -- Medina City Schools Superintendent Randy Stepp filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the school board members and district officials, claiming breach of contract, defamation and invasion of privacy.
U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells in Cleveland was assigned to the case.
Named as defendants were:
- School Board President Karla Robinson
- Board members Susan Vlcek, Doug Adamczyk and William Grenfell
- District General Counsel James Shields
- District Treasurer James Hudson
The board placed Stepp on paid leave April 8 pending completion of a special state audit of his use of a district "carryover fund" held by the Medina County Schools' Educational Service Center.
Records show that, on April 16, the school board rescinded Stepp's new contract, arguing it was not valid because the board had violated the state's open meeting Sunshine Law by failing to properly publicize the Jan. 7 meeting where it was approved.
The 20-page lawsuit seeks damages for "breach of contract, as well as damages for the injury to Dr. Stepp's reputation and standing in the community, humiliation, mental anguish and suffering, as well as lost income and future earning capacity."
The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount that Stepp in seeking in damages.
However, in addition to the full payment of his 2013 contract, Stepp is asking for "compensatory damages including, but not limited to, lost income, lost earning capacity, reputational damage, damage to his standing in the community, humiliation, mental anguish and suffering, and other money damages and special damages against the Board of Education, as well as against Vlcek, Robinson, Grenfell, Adamczyk, Shields and Hudson in their individual capacities."
The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages against Vlcek, Robinson, Grenfell, Adamczyk, Shields and Hudson, along with attorneys' fees, interest and court costs.
Stepp is represented by Cleveland attorneys David Drechsler and Michael J. Matasich of Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs LLP on East Ninth Street.
The board revisited Stepp's new contract and payment approval after residents found out that the new contract had an $83,000 signing bonus and the total amounts of his educational reimbursements.
That amount totaled about $172,000 for his old college loans for his bachelor's master's and doctorate degrees in education from Ashland University and more than $94,000 for MBA degree from Case Western Reserve University, awarded in 2012.