WARREN - Claiming city school officials were aware and even supported her personal relationship with school Superintendent Bruce Thomas, Kristen Lewis has sued the district and the school board claiming she was wrongfully terminated through a "false and fraudulent" reduction in force.
Lewis, former coordinator of student counseling, family and community engagement, is seeking more than $25,000 in compensatory damages and in excessive of $100,000 in punitive damages. She claims the move to lay her off, effective June 30, 2012, was "false and fraudulent and done to conceal the reason" for her termination and "to deprive her of her Ohio constitutional rights."
Further, the lawsuit states that "Lewis was terminated from employment with the District because of her relationship and association with Thomas" and that she was not "terminated for just cause."
Warren City Schools hired Lewis, 38, of Akron, in October. In April, Thomas, who was named superintendent in July 2011, told a Tribune Chronicle reporter that he and Lewis were dating, but he did not see anything wrong with the relationship despite the fact that she was his subordinate. At that time Thomas, who admitted he had known Lewis professionally in the past, said the two did not begin dating until after Warren hired her. He also denied that the position had been created for Lewis, who was making an annual salary of $70,183.
Just one year into his three-year contract, Thomas resigned from his post abruptly in June, informing board members he had become increasingly less comfortable with their decisions.
This is a developing story, read Wednesday's Tribune Chronicle or www.tribtoday.com for more.