Behind the secrecy
High Justices Note Strong Evidence
Airport Director White Swore Falsely
by Steve Miller
copyright (c) 1997, Electric Nevada
|So why did Washoe County Airport director Robert White want to keep secret terms of the agreement that recently settled two lawsuits against him and the airport board?|
| The suits, filed by former airport
planning chief Douglas Clements and former airport
advertising sales specialist Sue Clements Sceirine, had
charged White wrongfully fired the two in 1989 in service
to retaliation-minded board directors, upset over
whistle-blowing by the two on financial improprieties by
the board's former director, Vernon Troupe.
Inspection of the court files on both cases suggests that White may have sought secrecy in the settlement in hopes of avoiding embarrassment for not only the Airport Authority board but also himself personally.
That's because justices at not only the Nevada Supreme Court, but also the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the course of reviewing the case record, asserted there were solid grounds for doubting statements made by White in a sworn affidavit.
Also, as director, White triggered the cumulative costs associated with the firings -- not only the reputed $500,000 to $600,000 in the Clements-Sceirine settlement, but also additional tens or even hundreds of thousands in as-yet untotalled lawyer costs.
Because the Ninth Circuit awarded
costs of the appeal to
the plaintiffs in the wrongful-termination suits, the
airport authority will have to pay not only its own
attorneys' costs, but those of Clements and Sceirine. In
addition, the authority has also had to pay attorneys to
defend itself and White in two other, closely associated,
wrongful-termination lawsuits -- those of Robert A. Mall,
former property director at the airport, who had revealed
alleged lies under oath by White, and Louise Curtis, the
airport's former personnel director and another
whistle-blower in the Troupe affair.
Such attention would
also conceivably lend support to calls by Sparks city
officials and others for investigations of the airport
He wanted to discuss it with some other people.
board reorganized the
entire Airport Authority just to get rid of Douglas
because he was a threat to the status quo -- he was a
whistle-blower, who was calling attention to
irregularities and illegalities on the part of the
Airport Authority administration."
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