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Mullin files first lawsuit against the Airport under the Open Meetings Act – December 8, 2011

Turkia Mullin filed her first lawsuit (attached) against the Wayne County Airport Authority this morning; the case was assigned to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert J. Colombo, the same judge who is presiding over Robert Davis’s Open Meetings Act case against the Airport.

At the October 31, 2011 special meeting held by the Board, we objected that the decision to terminate her employment contract was illegal under the Open Meetings Act. This new lawsuit seeks to invalidate the Board’s decision.

Under the Open Meetings Act, employees have the right to insist on an open session when decisions are made affecting their employment. At the special meeting, we stated on the record: “Ms. Mullin would like an open session on everything pertaining to her employment; we think the public has a right to know what if and charges you have against her and she has a due process right to be able to respond.”

In this lawsuit, Ms. Mullin claims that the Board violated her rights and the rights of the public by illegally convening a closed session where they discussed and decided on her employment. The Board emerged 90 minutes later with a written resolution that terminated her employment under section 7f(1) of her employment contract (“for cause,” defined as “dishonesty, theft, willful misconduct, breach of fiduciary duty, or unethical business conduct”). Board member Susan Hall, who sponsored the resolution, refused to provide any explanation of any facts constituting cause for termination.

Board member Samuel Nouhan stated on the record: “there’s no evidence that Turkia Mullin violated any provision of her airport contract.” He continued: “in reality the facts show just the opposite, that Turkia has faithfully and admirably served as Airport CEO under the terms of her Agreement. . . and she’s achieved remarkable results in a mere 6 to 8 weeks after starting.” Nouhan advised the other board members: “this motion if passed would expose the Wayne County Airport Authority to millions of dollars in potential legal costs, settlements, or judgments.” The Board nonetheless adopted the resolution by a 5-2 vote.

Ms. Mullin seeks to invalidate the Board’s improper proceeding, or at a minimum, require the Board to hold a proper meeting to discuss, deliberate, and decide this issue in a public forum.