Nonprofit's Former Executive Director Sues An OK Co. Commissioner

Thursday, May 3rd 2018, 2:30 pm
By: LeighAnne Manwarren

A former nonprofit employee is suing Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan, according to a lawsuit filed on April 26 in Oklahoma County.

Charles A. Elder II is suing Maughan and Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere Foundation (SHINE) on claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, wrongful termination, defamation and recovery of expenses advanced.

According to the lawsuit, Elder worked as the executive director at SHINE, a nonprofit formed by Maughan in 2012.

During his employment, Elder stated he expressed “his disagreement with the depositing of checks into Maughan’s personal bank account” which Elder “understood were intended to benefit the Foundation.” Elder also alleged in the lawsuit Maughan allowed unaffiliated people to utilize the office space rented by the organization for its corporate activities.

While organizing an event to raise funds for the nonprofit, Elder said Maughan was not actively involved in the preparation for the fundraiser. During this time, Elder said he was not being paid his salary check.

According to the lawsuit, Maughan went to the fundraising event on April 26, 2016 and “became loudly and obscenely critical and abusive” toward Elder. After the concert introduction, Elder said he went backstage and broke down emotionally.

After the concert, Elder said the board chair and chief executive officer of the nonprofit offered a financial payment in exchange for his resignation. They agreed to a $60,000 severance payment, according to the lawsuit.

Elder was formerly terminated from his position in May 2016. According to the lawsuit, Elder said he was not paid the agreed upon severance. 

Maughan released the following statement in response to the lawsuit, "This lawsuit stems from his brief time as a consultant to the SHINE Foundation which ended when the volunteer citizen board decided to terminate his contract. I did not fire him and in fact, I abstained from voting in that decision. I am confident that this nuisance lawsuit will be deemed unfounded."