TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority ended the employment of its CEO Adelee LeGrand on Tuesday.
The decision followed months of investigation into an alleged hostile work environment and allegations of HART policy violations.
Board members debated for more than three and a half hours on a decision that hinged on money and the threat of a potentially expensive lawsuit.
LeGrand first offered to walk away from the job, effective June 30, with a total settlement package of just over $110,000.
But some board members raised questions about whether HART would contractually have to pay LeGrand for her accrued leave time, close to $55,000, since she would be leaving the transit authority while not in good standing.
Like so many other legal negotiations, it came down to money.
LeGrand rejected the board’s first counteroffer to exclude the accrued leave time.
That triggered a presentation and then a rebuttal from LeGrand’s attorney with a veiled legal threat.
“Negotiating, if we can, if not, we will be rehashing these issues for a while. And that’s probably not good for either side,” LeGrand’s attorney Steven Wenzel said.
Board members were warned that litigating the case could cost $500,000 in legal fees alone, leaving board members to weigh the risk.
“The funds spent trouble me. They really do,” HART Board Chairman Luis Viera said. “When we can potentially end this.”
Ultimately, the two sides split the difference.
LeGrand is out effective immediately with a buyout of a little over $88,000.
The transit authority now has to look for a new CEO.
Also, days earlier, state lawmakers voted to place HART under a microscope due to its financial issues in a move that could end with HART having to restructure.