CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two people who worked for separate Kanawha County agencies filed lawsuits this week alleging that they were harassed and ostracized when they reported alleged misappropriations.
Sam M. Hope II, the former general manager of the Kanawha County Public Service District, and Laura Wilson, the former director of operations at Kanawha County Metro 911, claim their rights under state whistleblower laws were stripped.
Hope was fired as general manager of the public service district on Sept. 13. According to his lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Hope had complained to the state Ethics Commission and to the state Public Service Commission "concerning illegal, unethical and, or improper practices occurring at KCPSD."
Hope said that David Howell, the chairman of the agency, approved and revised unethical, nepotistic hiring policies and terminated other employees for pointing out financial irregularities, like hidden or missing funds, the suit states.
Howell, reached by phone, declined to comment.
According to Wilson's lawsuit, during an administrative meeting in November 2011, former Metro 911 director Carolyn Karr Charnock told Wilson that the agency had a "slush fund" for selected employees.
The fund consisted of a bogus $450 monthly rent payment paid out of the Office of Emergency Services budget. The fund, according to the lawsuit, went to pay for personal trips by select personal and at least one county commissioner knew it existed.
Wilson took personal leave on Jan. 24 to see a therapist, allegedly because of depression caused by a hostile work environment at the center, the suit states. A month later, she met with Rick Atkinson, a member of the metro board of directors and told him of her concerns, the suit states.