Former UGA alumni director's actions not criminal, says lawyer for Regents – Online Athens

Accusations that former University of Georgia Alumni Association Executive Director Deborah Dietzler committed actual crimes should be stricken from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by fired UGA employee Sallyanne Barrow, according to the state Board of Regents.

In a lawsuit against the state Board of Regents, Barrow says she was fired in retaliation after bringing Dietzler’s questionable accounting of her time and use of alumni association travel funds — arranging her UGA travel schedule so she could compete in marathons on the same trip, for example.

After Barrow met with University of Georgia police chief Jimmy Williamson and other officials in 2013, an internal UGA audit found evidence of “substantial misconduct and policy violations,” according to state documents.

Dietzler was taken out of the executive director’s job and given a temporary reassignment to give her time to find another job.

But no one concluded Dietzler’s actions were actually criminal, according to a motion filed in Clarke County Superior Court by Ed Tolley, who represents the Regents. Appointed by the governor, the Regents are the board that oversees the state’s 29 public colleges and universities, the Georgia public library stem, and the state archives.

Language in the lawsuit Barrow filed describes Dietzler’s activities as “criminal and fraudulent” and as “theft,” but those words are out of place and could prejudice a jury against Dietzler in a trial, according to the Regents’ motion to remove that language.

According to the Regents, Barrow’s claims that UGA “bent over backwards” to “cover up her (Dietzler’s) conduct” should also be struck from Barrow’s complaint, filed in early December by Atlanta lawyer Jaime Duguay of Kaufman, Levine & Griner of Atlanta.

The words “make conclusory allegations” that “Deborah Dietzler was a criminal and a thief, neither of which was a finding by law enforcement, a fraud committee, nor by the Board’s auditor. As such, these allegations are impertinent, scandalous, and may prejudice the Board at the trial of this case,” according to the lawyer’s motion.

Auditors with the University System of Georgia forwarded their investigation of Dietzler to the office of State Attorney General Sam Olens for “whether Deborah Dietzler’s alleged conduct was criminal in nature and, if so, whether prosecution should be undertaken.”

As of Monday, the attorney general’s office had publicly released no findings of that investigation.

Tolley also asks that a paragraph about the travel expenses of UGA’s current alumni association executive director be removed as irrelevant. A paragraph calling another alumni association worker one of “Dietzler’s cronies” should also be struck, according to Tolley’s motion on behalf of the Regents.

There isn’t yet a judge to rule on the Regents’ motion or schedule a hearing, however.

All three Clarke County superior court judges — David Sweat, Lawton Stephens and Patrick Haggard — have recused themselves from the case.

After all three disqualified themselves, Athens-Clarke County Clerk of Courts wrote to Tenth District Court Administrator Tracy Blement asking him to appoint an outside judge.

Follow education reporter Lee Shearer at www.facebook.com/LeeShearerABH or https://twitter.com/LeeShearer.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *