College of DuPage wrongful termination lawsuit ends in 3 separate deals

Two former College of DuPage administrators have reached three separate deals to settle their federal wrongful termination lawsuit — but the details of two of them apparently will remain secret.

Thomas Glaser and Lynn Sapyta sued the college, former COD board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton and former interim President Joseph Collins after they were fired in September 2015. They claimed in their lawsuit that they were wrongfully terminated as payback for opposing Hamilton's political agenda.

On Thursday, one of the lawyers representing Glaser and Sapyta said confidential settlements already are finalized with Hamilton and Collins.

The only remaining piece was a separate agreement with COD, which the school's trustees approved Thursday night.

“There are separate settlements with Hamilton, Collins and the college,” attorney Shelly B. Kulwin said. “The terms of some of those settlement agreements are confidential.”

The college released a copy of its settlement agreement two days before Thursday night's vote.

That deals calls for Glaser and Sapyta to dismiss their lawsuit against the college and to waive “any and all potential claims and causes of action” against the school, including past and present board members and interim presidents.

COD will not pay any money to Glaser and Sapyta as part of its settlement, although that doesn't mean they won't receive, or haven't received, compensation through the other agreements.

After the vote, the college released a brief written statement saying it's “pleased” the litigation has ended.

“The result is clearly in the best interests of the college,” the statement reads.

Andrew Porter, an attorney for Collins, said his client is pleased the litigation is over. He added that Collins wishes the college, Glaser and Sapyta “the very best.”

An attorney for Hamilton declined to comment.

Collins fired Glaser and Sapyta in September 2015 for what he said was a failure to protect the financial integrity of the Glen Ellyn-based school. Glaser served as senior vice president of administration and treasurer, and Sapyta was assistant vice president of financial affairs and controller.

The administrators said in their lawsuit that their firings violated their constitutional rights of free speech and free association.

Glaser and Sapyta campaigned against three Hamilton-backed candidates — Deanne Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein — during the 2015 COD board election. All three were elected.

Once Hamilton became chairwoman and gained control of the seven-member board, she used her position to create policy for COD, “including directing defendant Joseph Collins to unlawfully terminate” Glaser and Sapyta, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit sought several items of relief, including back wages and lost benefits, as well as any loss of earning capacity and compensatory and punitive damages.

While terms of some of the settlement deals are confidential, Kulwin said Glaser and Sapyta “are very pleased with the ultimate resolution of the litigation.”

“They both want to move on with their lives,” Kulwin said.

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