John Chavis’ 30-month-old fight with his old employer might be coming to an end.
Chavis and LSU are working towards settling their lawsuit over a buyout the school alleges he owes the program, multiple sources told The Advocate.
Details on a potential settlement are not known. Attorneys involved in the suit either did not responded to messages for comment or declined comment Thursday.
The bitter fight between Chavis and the university is over a $400,000 buyout the school says he owes for leaving for Texas A&M, in December 2014, before the buyout clause in his contract ended. Chavis, in Year 3 as A&M’s defensive coordinator, claims he did not leave before Feb. 1, 2015, the buyout end date.
Photographs, however, have emerged showing Chavis recruiting in Aggies gear in January 2015.
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The latest ruling in the case came in April, when the First Circuit Court of Appeals denied Chavis’ motion to dismiss the case. Jill Craft, the coach’s lawyer, filed the motion in August based on the school altering language in Chavis’ contract after he signed it.
LSU admitted to altering Chavis’ contract in court during a hearing in December 2015, but claim the alterations were “nominal” and did not change the language in the buyout clause.
The case is being presided over by Judge Timothy Kelly in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish. Kelly has urged the two sides to reach a settlement.
Texas A&M is responsible for the coach’s buyout, according to his contract with the Aggies. Chavis also claims the school owes him more than $200,000 in unpaid vacation wages and academic performance bonuses and another $445,000 in penalty wages.
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Chavis’ attorney, Craft, grilled several former and current LSU administrators about the contract during depositions last summer. Peppered with questions, former coach Les Miles, LSU chief financial officer Mark Ewing and athletic director Joe Alleva all said the meaning of the buyout did not change with the rewording of a section.
Alleva, in his deposition, says he wasn’t aware of the alterations to Chavis’ contract until they emerged in the lawsuit last year, but he says twice that the two contracts are “virtually the same.”
“So, then it would be fair, would it not, to say that the accusation that my client breached (the altered contract), which he did not sign, is false?” Craft asked Alleva.
Said Alleva: “Your client had an agreement with LSU that if he left before the end of January, he owed $400,000.”
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