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Former Foundation Director Files Suit

Claims Support Of Candidates Was Catalyst

POSTED September 16, 2012 10:11 a.m.

The falling-out between the Oak Valley Foundation and Oak Valley Hospital continues as former Executive Director Amy Thompson filed suit against the hospital and its former CEO John Friel claiming wrongful termination, breach of contract, and interference with protected civil rights.

 

The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 21 in Stanislaus Superior Court and Thompson is being represented by Sonora attorney Scott Ward.

 

In July 2011, Thompson, who had been the in the position since 2001, was removed as foundation director by Friel which created more of an already existing rift between the administration, particularly Friel, and the foundation. The foundation claimed its bylaws stated the director could only be terminated with the consent of its officers.

 

Thompson is also claiming that because she was now-OVH board president Dan Cummin’s campaign manager and also campaigned for challengers Wendell Chun and Louise Sanders she was targeted by Friel for removal

 

Cummins, Chun, and Sanders are all now on the board and ran as a “slate” in Nov. 2010 critical of Friel and his management style.

 

Friel, who became the OVH CEO in 2002, did not have his contract extended and left OVH in Feb. 2012. Friel is now CEO of Catalina Island Medical Center in Avalon, California.

 

The lawsuit cites that Thompson’s actions were protected political activities and states Friel developed a “personal animosity” toward her.

 

In July 2011, Friel stated the foundation was not functioning in a proper fundraising organization of the district and dismissed Thompson.

For the entire story, read the Sept. 19 edition of The Leader.

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