Whistleblower Headed to Mediation to Resolve Dispute
Monday, November, 13, 2017
It has been two years since the former Albuquerque Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Don Moya filed a whistleblower lawsuit, and now, the case is headed to mediation. The goal is to settle the dispute between Moya and the district regarding Moya’s accusations. The hope is to settle things in one mediation session, but if that does not happen, the case could still go to trial.
The lawsuit against the district alleges that he was paid on administrative leave in retaliation for alerting APS administrators to what he considered wasteful audits by the new superintendent, Luis Valentino. The district was denied a summary judgment and three experts from the district were barred from testifying concerning HR procedures.
So far, the district has accumulated more than $700,000 in legal fees. Insurance caps limit the out-of-pocket costs to $350,000. According to those familiar with the case, there have been opportunities to settle, but the district wanted to defend itself.
The lawsuit was filed shortly after a text from Valentino was mistakenly sent to Moya. It claimed Moya was “running roughshot” and implied the district was going to go after him. Later that same day the text was sent, Moya was placed on administrative leave. The text came after a difficult time for Moya and Valentino due to Moya’s accusing the district of the wasteful and unnecessary audits.
Valentino has since stepped down from his position, but received an $80,000 buyout and a positive reference letter from the district.
The hope is that Moya’s actions will change things at APS and force them to be more fiscally responsible.