Former Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper has sent a letter rejecting a proposed payout from the LPSS board in his wrongful termination suit.
At its meeting Wednesday night, the Lafayette Parish School Board emerged from an executive session to approve a resolution offering to pay Cooper the remainder of the compensation due under his contract plus court costs and attorney fees — in the neighborhood of half a million dollars.
In his letter Thursday, Cooper declined the offer. In his lawsuit, he is demanding a $4 million settlement, including more than $1.25 million for pain and suffering and defamation as a result of the board’s actions in ousting him from the superintendent job in November 2014.
Through his attorney, Cooper has previously cited the need for extensive therapy following his termination due to the severity of the attacks mounted against him.
The state’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal previously sided with Cooper in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the school board, saying that the board overstepped its authority in firing Cooper.
FULL TEXT OF PAT COOPER’S REPLY:
I respectfully decline your offer that was extended in the form of a motion in the board meeting last night, April 11. I don’t take that course for any other reason than it is not a fair and just settlement for the damage to my reputation and ability to continue my career nor does it provide for adequate understanding by every school board member and school board attorney in this state that they cannot attempt to ruin an innocent person’s professional and personal life by way of cowardly and reprehensible acts. It is not about money…never has been. It is about devious school board members and school board attorneys who attempted to take all happiness and dignity away from the past six years of my life.
Tehmi Chassion, Tommy Angelle, Dennis Blunt, and Bob Hammonds already know why. The Third Circuit, with La. Supreme Court approval, has already tried and found them guilty of these unwarranted attacks and misdeeds. You, as new members of the board, while not having taken part in these actions, are, none the less having to deal with the repercussions. I am sorry for that.
We have heard from reliable sources that this board “will never pay 7 figures” and “will never pay a judgment if brought against it by a court of law.” Wouldn’t it be great if we could all shirk our responsibilities! Be that as it may, those are lines in the sand that have been drawn. I don’t know how any of this will turn out but here is what I know.
-Each of you need to really know the truth about what the former board’s actions have done to me and my family.
-Each of you need to understand the very bad, unprofessional, and costly advice your attorneys have given you, simply because some of the former board members and your counsel, Bob Hammonds, were conniving, and spreading gossip, and acting in bad faith before I ever even took office.
-Each of you new board members have a chance to act morally and ethically in this situation.
-And all of you know me. You know that I will not give up. I will not take less than is right and just. I will go through the entire court process (District Court, Third Circuit Court, and La. Supreme Court), and Lane Roy and I will pursue individual and personal legal remedies against the seven individuals who fired me illegally if forced into that corner.
-Each of you knows, your attorneys’ advice so far has not been so great. You should be careful when they tell you that you will not have to pay a judgement brought against you by a court of law. You should be careful when they tell some of you that you can’t be held personally responsible for “arbitrary and capricious actions’. My attorneys have proven to be more experienced at the “real” practice of law…rather than the “smear tactic law” your attorneys engage in causing reckless mistakes fueled by their personal dislike for me and their greed for more money. Pardon me for being blunt (no pun intended), but your attorneys are trying to look good even though they failed you. They not only need to look good for you, they have to make sure all of their other clients see them in a good light to keep the money rolling in. They will continue to postpone, delay, and cost you more money if you allow.
-Each of you know that I was treated unfairly. You would not stand for what the prior board members did if it were done to you or a family member. But each of you should know that I believe that the new board members are honorable men and women. I believe each of you are fair people who can see through the politics and the wrong doing of others. I am not looking for a 4.1 million dollar pay day. I am only attempting to work with you to find a settlement that is honorable and fair.