Roy King, the director of LSU’s Golden Band from Tiger Land, was officially fired on Tuesday, ending a career of almost two decades working with the university’s marching band.
King, who was put on administrative leave pending an investigation earlier this month, learned he was terminated via a letter mailed to him from LSU officials, his attorney Jill Craft said.
“LSU wasn’t even man enough to call him in and terminate him in person,” Craft said Tuesday afternoon, adding that human resources officials with LSU promised that King he would get another meeting to discuss allegations against him.
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard confirmed in a statement that King is no longer employed by LSU and that the interim band director is Dennis Llinas, the associate director of bands.
“We have provided Mr. King with a letter outlining our reasons based on an investigation related to adherence of policies, procedures and financial safeguards meant to protect Tiger Band and LSU,” Ballard said, adding that this would be the final comment from LSU on the matter.
Craft previously characterized the investigation into King as a money grab by the LSU School of Music, which is where King was employed. She said the school was interested in getting a share of the athletic dollars that King oversees for the marching band, Color Guard and Golden Girls. LSU has denied this claim.
The termination letter accuses King of wrongfully giving out scholarships to members of the Golden Girls and the Color Guard, Craft said, a practice she previously said has gone on for years and one that uses money designated from athletics and not the LSU School of Music.
She also said King was being held accountable for money stolen off the desk of a School of Music employee. The envelope contained a “couple thousand dollars,” for travel expenses. But King was not her supervisor, Craft said, so it’s unclear why he’s being held responsible.
She said King also was accused of nepotism because his daughter has an internship at the School of Music.
“So they accuse him of nepotism even though at LSU, members of the LSU administration regularly supervise children, spouses and family members,” she said.
The letter also referenced an act of “insubordination,” she said, for comments he made “a long time ago.”
Neither Craft nor LSU would disclose the letter.
King, who was offered no severance, is considering suing LSU, Craft said. She said King can refute with documentation every allegation against him.
“He is shocked that the university he loved would ever treat him this way,” Craft said. “He loves his students and he loves his job. He was the ambassador for LSU you’d want to have.”
Earlier this week, LSU President F. King Alexander addressed accusations in letters sent out to people who contacted the school about King in recent days.
“Tiger Band is a treasure to our University, and we have an obligation to protect it and honor its traditions. The situation you referenced is a personnel matter, and a review is underway,” Alexander wrote in response to queries and complaints about King. “However, I would like to dispel the persistent rumors about budget changes and alterations in scholarship awards. That just is not true. We would have preferred to handle this case privately, but as significant accusations toward the university were made in the press, I felt it important to respond to the concerned friends who wrote to me.
King was put on paid administrative leave April 6, at which point Craft said King is the target of a “witch hunt.”
He was the athletic marching band director for five years and has worked in the band’s administration for 18.
For the past week, supporters of King have rallied around him support, fearful of his potential dismissal.
Last week, a group of band parents, alumni and other King supporters, delivered a Change.org petition with 1,500 signatures on it to Alexander and Gov. John Bel Edwards asking for King to be reinstated. As of Tuesday, the petition had almost 2,000 signatures.
Mary Bahlinger, the 2014 drum major for Tiger Band, was a leader of the petition drive. She said last week that King is a beloved leader of the band.
“He’s hilarious, he’s a wonderful guy, a wonderful mentor and he knows how to listen,” Bahlinger said. “If you come to him with questions or suggestions, he has an open door policy where if he can help you, he will.”