Fired Golden Band from Tiger Land director Roy King alleged in a lawsuit Monday that he was axed in part because he objected to how LSU used a $50,000 contribution from a wealthy university supporter after band members played at the donor’s son’s wedding in New Orleans.
King, who is seeking monetary damages, claims then-LSU School of Music Dean Larry Kaptain told him in mid-2010 that the donation would be made to LSU to support the Golden Band and would be put in the Band Hall Building Fund. However, Kaptain wanted the donation to go to other programs and endeavors within the School of Music.
“Mr. King protested receipt of funds in that manner because it was not reflective of the donor intent. …, ” King says in a suit prepared by attorneys Jill Craft and Crystal LeFleur Bounds.
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Craft has been alleging for weeks that King’s firing was a “money grab” by the School of Music.
King, according to the suit, was summoned to a series of meetings during which Kaptain, Jane Cassidy, then-interim director of the School of Music and associate dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts, and others tried to persuade King to “take the money” for the School of Music and let “them” handle it, his suit claims.
King continually refused.
During the third and fourth meetings, the suit says, Kaptain offered King a “special administrative position” that King was not to tell anyone about, and Kaptain said he would pay King for the special position from the $50,000 donation. The suit does not name the supporter.
“Mr. King refused,” the suit states.
In a fourth meeting, Kaptain and others told King that a “special account” had been located at LSU where the money could be deposited and from which they could extract a “sizable stipend for you,” the suit says.
“Mr. King then stood up, and said ‘I don’t know who you think I am, but I don’t put money in my pockets off the backs of my kids,’ told both Kaptain and Cassidy he believed their actions to constitute an illegal bribe/extortion, and walked out,” according to the suit.
Although a strictly volunteer pep band did perform at the donor’s son’s wedding, the $50,000 was supposedly deposited into a School of Music account for the Golden Band, but King never saw the account nor to his knowledge were any of the proceeds used for the band, the suit says.
The same donor made an additional $10,000 donation for the sole and exclusive use and benefit of the Golden Band as intended by the donor, the suit notes.
After Cassidy became vice provost for academic affairs, King contends in his suit that he again confronted her about whether the “illegal bribe offering” would serve as an impetus to get rid of him.
The suit claims the answer to that question came last month.
“Mr. King stood up and will continue to stand up for all the past and present members of the Golden Band from Tiger Land,” Craft said Monday after the suit’s filing.
“Mr. King has dedicated his life to the joy of music and the pageantry of this treasured LSU tradition. When he stood up for what is right, he was fired,” she said. “He is looking forward to his day in court and vindicating his good name and reputation.”
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said the school stands by its decision to fire King.
“The university does not take this type of action lightly. In this case, both an audit and a separate investigation led to the decision that it was necessary to terminate Mr. King’s employment,” he said.
King, an LSU alumni who was the Golden Band drum line leader while a student at the school, was the athletic marching band director for five years and had worked in the band’s administration for 18 years.
He was fired after being put on administrative leave April 6 pending an investigation.
King’s termination letter accused him of, among other things, wrongfully giving out scholarships to members of the Golden Girls and the Color Guard, a practice Craft contends has gone on for years and one that uses money designated from athletics and not the LSU School of Music.
The suit also says King was held accountable for money stolen off the desk of a School of Music employee, but the employee acknowledged the missing money was her fault.
King also was accused of nepotism because his daughter has an internship at the School of Music.
Dennis Llinas, LSU’s associate director of bands, is serving as interim band director.
King’s suit was filed in the 19th Judicial District Court and is assigned to state District Judge Don Johnson.
The suit, which also says King was defamed, names as defendants the LSU Board of Supervisors; LSU Chancellor and President F. King Alexander; School of Music Dean Todd Queen; Damon Talley, the director of bands; and A.G. Monaco, the school’s human resources director.