Friday, January 3 2014 5:27 PM EST2014-01-03 22:27:28 GMT
A CBS Atlanta investigation exposes allegations that the powerful Board of Regents has mishandled appeals filed by terminated employees. With a $7.5 billion dollar budget, the Regents run all 31 of Georgia'sMore >
A CBS Atlanta investigation exposes allegations that the powerful Board of Regents has mishandled appeals filed by terminated employees. More >
MACON, GA (CBS46) -
Denise Caldon, of Macon, has repeatedly tried to unseal court records that she said contains evidence that the Board of Regents has mismanaged a college campus and employment appeals.
"It will open a Pandora's box, there are so many issues," said Caldon.
Caldon was fired in 2008 after she said she refused to continue falsifying documents at the request of her supervisor, David Bell, former president of Macon State College, now Middle Georgia State College.
"After I put in writing that I would no longer falsify his leave reports, 9 days later I was terminated after 15 years of dedicated service," said Caldon who worked as Bell's administrative assistant.
In court papers, Caldon alleged Bell neglected his duties and she covered to protect him.
"He would never make a full day of work," said Caldon. "It was common knowledge on campus that we had to limit his meetings. Limit his speaking engagements."
Caldon unsuccessfully appealed her termination to the Board of Regents, then filed a whistle blower lawsuit against the Board but lost.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs sealed the evidence in the case which Caldon has sought to unseal four times. Each time, the office of Attorney General objected.
According to Caldon, a source inside the Board of Regents told her the administration was concerned about losing their own jobs for allowing a president to serve under his medical condition for three years.
A piece of sealed evidence, CBS Atlanta found in the public file contains a deposition in which Regent Doreen Poitevint admitted that Regents don't review appeals filed by terminated employees before voting on them.
"They make the faculty and staff and students believe that their appeals are read and they are not," said Caldon.
Bill Simon, conservative blogger for Political Vine, wrote a court brief on behalf of Caldon's push to unseal the records. He said it's hypocritical for Attorney General Sam Olens to tout his commitment to open records and then prevent the public from seeing what's in Caldon's court file.
"He's engaging in false, deceptive, misleading legal tactics to cover up wrongdoing at the Board of Regents," said Simon.
Lauren Kane, Olens' spokesperson said the Attorney General's office stands by its pleadings and pointed out Caldon's attorney had agreed to a consent order sealing the record, something Caldon said she never signed off on.
Board of Regents' Vice Chancellor Burns Newsome said an internal investigation found Bell had done nothing wrong but admitted that the investigation wasn't documented.
Newsome said he and his staff didn't consider Caldon's claims of retaliation when recommending the Board of Regents deny her appeal in 2008.
Since being fired, Caldon said she has lost her home, her savings and her medical insurance but continues to fight to protect the jobs of others.
"I just wanted them to fix what they've been doing to all the faculty, staff and students. They need to right a wrong," said Caldon.
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