I-Team: Wyatt Center pays out $80,000 settlement
An NBC 10 I-Team investigation reveals an $80,000 settlement paid to woman who claims she was sexually harassed by the former CEO of the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Michael Fair.
Two different sources told the I-Team the woman claimed she was sexually harassed last fall.
According to documents the I-Team obtained through a public records request, $50,000 of the settlement was paid by the Wyatt Corp. and $30,000.00 was paid by Wyatt's insurance company.
In a statement to the I-Team, Wyatt's legal counsel Margaret Kynch-Gadaleta said "employment discrimination litigation, even where allegations are baseless and contrived, is by its very nature, inherently protracted, expensive and draining."
Lynch-Gadaleta would not confirm that the woman claimed she was sexually harassed, but did confirm, "there was a settlement payment of $80,000 made as a resolution to a complaint made against Michael V. Fair in his role as CEO at Wyatt."
Fair left Wyatt last December by "mutual agreement" with Wyatt's board of directors. His salary was $236,000.00 per year.
In a separate investigation, the NBC 10 I-Team uncovers the high cost of legal work being performed by more than a dozen different law firms for the Wyatt Detention Facility.
A public records request shows that in the year 2012, $797,744.30 was paid by taxpayers for legal work.
Among the lawyers getting most of that money are; Margaret Lynch-Gadaleta, Wyatt's legal counsel who received $129,750.00, Terence Fracassa, who was paid $124,140.00 and Vincent Ragosta Jr. who reaped $115,393.75.
Three bond holders and their trustees were paid a total of $359,723.63.
The Wyatt's board of directors says the costly legal bills, in part, are due to the bond holders.
"Bond holders and their trustee who have charged the corporation $40,000.00 per month in fees to protect against what they perceive as threats to their investment," have contributed to the increase in legal fees.
The board hopes to decrease spending for legal work next year.