The embattled St. Joseph Board of Education Thursday night appears to have put one of its many legal problems behind it.
The board voted 5-0 to settle a lawsuit filed by CFO Beau Musser after he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
"We are relieved that we are at this point," said board member Chris Danford.
The amount of the settlement was not released. But it appears there are still a few details to work out.
Musser was one of the whistle-blowers on $270,000 in stipends secretly given to 54 top administrations last spring by former superintendent Fred Czerwonka.
According to his lawsuit, Musser was worried that the board was kept in the dark about the stipends and concerned it may violate Missouri law.
When he brought those concerns to Czerwonka and HR director Doug Flowers he was accused of misconduct. According to the lawsuit, Czerwonka and Flowers offered to buy out Musser's contract in return for his silence on the stipends.
Czerwonka has since been fired. Flowers was demoted and offered a teaching contract for next year.
Musser was so worried after he discovered the stipends and many other financial irregularities that he began to secretly record meetings with his mobile phone.
“When I was forced to blow the whistle, I knew that retaliation was a possibility,” says Musser. “I wanted to make sure no one could dispute I was a whistleblower.”
The transcripts of those tapes became part of his lawsuit against the district.
Court documents suggest Musser recorded meetings with district lawyers, Flowers and board member Dennis Snethen.
“I’m a volunteer. I just do this to help. I didn’t do this to be in Watergate,” Snethen said at a recent board meeting. “I thought he was my friend. I’ve known his family. He’s a good kid. I’m sorry all this happened. If there’s anything I can do to apologize or make it go away, I certainly would do it.”
Details will be released after both sides sign off on the settlement.
The district still faces an FBI investigation and just this week was served with a fourth supeona from a federal grand jury in Kansas City.
In addition, the district's liability insurance company is in federal court seeking to void its policy with the district.