Kathy Reitzel, the former Monroe County School District Finance Director, finally had her day in court -- nine years after she lost her job amidst a scandal that made national headlines.
The then-wife of then-superintendent, who was also employed by the school district, had stolen well over a half-million dollars. Reitzel turned her in and was the key witness in the state prosecutor's criminal case. Monique Acevedo went to prison. Her husband, Randy Acevedo, lost his position and served probation. The school superintendent is no longer chosen by voters - instead the school board does the hiring.
Reitzel claims she was fired in retaliation for her whistleblower actions and that the district breached her employment contract when they forced her to resign after the smoke cleared, giving her a choice: Retire now or get fired and lose your benefits.
Meanwhile other district employees, who had direct supervisory responsibilities over Monique Acevedo and had signed off on all of her illicit spending, were kept on and even promoted by the district.
Reitzel was seeking reinstatement and back pay. She had earned $95,910 annually.
Today the verdict is in. The jury found in favor of Reitzel in her breach of contract claim and awarded her over $60,000 in damages but rejected her whistleblower claim which required a finding that the district had terminated her in retaliation for having exposed the Acevedos. [see video below]
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