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Article posted: 3/20/2012 6:17 PM

Fired principal sues Prairie Crossing Charter School

By Bob Susnjara

Former Prairie Crossing Charter School principal Brian Greene has filed a lawsuit contending his firing in December was based on false claims against him by Director Nigel Whittington and two others.

Greene's attorney, Anthony Esposito of Libertyville, filed the suit Tuesday in Lake County circuit court. More than $50,000 in damages are sought from the Grayslake public choice school for claims including breach of contract, defamation, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Court documents state Whittington made bogus claims against Greene in a letter last Nov. 29 recommending the principal's dismissal. Whittington falsely stated Greene disclosed the substance of confidential teacher union negotiations to a parent and lied about the completion of curriculum maps, the suit says.

The lawsuit also contends false comments by former Prairie Crossing board member Mark Dybas and his wife, school spokeswoman Dilrukshi Dybas, were used by Whittington as part of his ouster. The Dybases have a child who attends the school.

Mark Dybas made a false accusation that Greene failed to schedule a meeting regarding his daughter, the suit states. Documents state both Dybases, who didn't return messages seeking comment, falsely accused Greene of raising his voice at them in "an angry and confrontational manner."

Prairie Crossing board President Steve Achtemeier said Tuesday he had yet to see the lawsuit and couldn't comment on it directly. He said officials had discussed with the school's insurance carrier the potential of a suit from Greene and have been assured the school's legal expenses will be covered.

"This is all going to come out in the proceedings," Achtemeier said, "and I look forward to have the truth out there."

Whittington's Nov. 29 letter recommending Greene's firing is attached to the lawsuit. He cited instances of Greene's conduct that were not in Prairie Crossing's best interest.

"On Sept. 19, 2011, you had a verbal outburst in the school building that was disruptive and unprofessional and detrimental to the best interests of (Prairie Crossing), in direct violation of the (school's) handbook," Whittington wrote. "Specifically, you yelled that it was my fault that the curriculum maps were not complete and that you hated every member of the board and couldn't wait for the 'blood bath' to occur during the board election."

He did not respond to messages for comment.

Greene had an $82,500 base-salary contract with a chance to receive $10,000 in bonuses when the Prairie Crossing board voted 9-0 to fire him Dec. 16. The school is accused in the suit of not paying his bonus for the current school year and of not contributing to his pension.

Greene, 41, was hired for the 2008-09 academic year.

Prairie Crossing is an environmentally focused school with a 392-student capacity. Before filing the lawsuit, Esposito said Greene did nothing illegal or unethical before he was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 29 and fired nearly three weeks later. Esposito couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Along with the charter school, Whittington, the Dybases and all board members were named individually.

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