Sunday, September 04, 2016

Lawsuit magnet Mike Johnson "retires" from Joplin R-8 School District

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education officially accepted the "retirement" of Mike Johnson, the lawsuit magnet who former Superintendent C. J. Huff put in charge of the most expensive buildings project in district history.

The action was taken during an August 23 closed session.

An advertisement for Johnson's position, director of facilities,was posted on the district website the day after the vote on his departure.

The district settled three lawsuits that accused Johnson of racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and firing a union leader who had taken complaints about Johnson to Huff.

The sexual harassment lawsuit, in which Johnson was accused of making gay slurs against an employee and claiming he would like to bend a former Stapleton Elementary principal over her desk and have his way with her, was settled in February 2015, just before it was scheduled for trial.

The district paid $276,000 to Urban Metropolitan, which filed a lawsuit accusing Johnson of racial discrimination, including making defamatory racist remarks about minorities.

Another lawsuit, filed by former union leader James Tucker,claimed Tucker was fired after he relayed union members' complaints about Johnson to Huff. The district also settled with Tucker, who had worked for Joplin R-8 for 26 years.

More details about the lawsuits can be found at this link.

Huff and Johnson also forced other people out of their jobs, including whistleblower Luther Hunt, an environmental control/utility worker who wrote a 10-page letter to Huff in 2011, detailing problems with Johnson, including explosive temperamental outbursts, purposeful ignoring of safety laws and regulations, telling a story about the death of a child that never happened and making references to "morons, idiots, retards, and savages."

According to Hunt, Johnson also routinely punished principals he did not like by delaying work orders.

After the letter, despite assurances from Huff and Human Resources Director Tina Smith nothing was done about Hunt's complaints, Hunt began having problems at work and eventually quit. The complete text of Hunt's letter can be found at this link.

Smith, despite her role as the attack dog for Huff and Johnson, was later promoted to chief operations officer and resigned in June.

Recently, Johnson was subpoenaed to the Polsinelli law offices in Kansas City for a deposition in yet another lawsuit in which he has played a major role. The district filed this lawsuit against the electrical contracting firm that handled the Joplin High School building project, the P1 Group. However, the lawsuit was only filed because district officials were aware the company was planning to sue for more than $6 million it says Joplin R-8 owes it for extra work and overtime in connection with Huff's ultimately unsuccessful effort to open the high school on time in August 2014.

The P1 Group filed a countersuit.


Anonymous said...

The HAT TRICK, Huff, Smith and Johnson. It is about time. If there are any other people left that think they can bully employees, teachers and staff they might want to think again! I wish we could get some of the great teachers and staff back that we lost due to these three wonderful human beings.

Anonymous said...

My heart sings today

Anonymous said... are next.

You occupy a position that is simply not needed.

Anonymous said...

Did he receive an overgenerous retirement payoff like they gave Huff?