Former band director alleges LSU mishandled donations

By Marian Johns | May 9, 2016

Wikipedia Commons/Miguel Mendez

BATON ROUGE — Former Louisiana State University Band Director Roy King recently filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging he was fired because he refused to comply with what he said was the university’s illegal handling of donor contributions and also claims he was offered bribes by some LSU officials.

King filed the lawsuit on May 2 in the 19th Judicial District Court of East Baton Rouge against the board of supervisors of Louisiana State University and A&M College, F. King Alexander, Damon Talley, Tood Queen, and A.G. Monaco citing defamation. He is seeking punitive damages.

King claims in his suit that funds received by LSU from donors, including a $50,000 gift to support the school’s Golden Band, “was not reflective of the donor intent at the time.” The suit states that LSU Dean Larry Kaptain wanted the donation to go to other “programs and endeavors” for LSU’s School of Music. King also claims he was asked to take illegal bribes by some school officials.

 “Any time someone is fired under a cloud, even when they are innocent, their reputation suffers," King’s attorney Jill Craft with Craft Law in Baton Rouge recently told the Louisiana Record. "Mr. King was Band Director of the Year in 2014 and led the Golden Band from Tigerland to national prominence. Now, he is fired for reasons that are not true.”

In the suit, King claims that after he objected to the use of the donated funds, he was summoned to a series of meetings with Kaptain; Jane Cassidy, who at the time was LSU’s interim director of the School of Music and associate dean of Music and Dramatic Arts; and Steve Covington, development director for the School of Music.

During those meetings, King claims he was told to “take the money” for the School of Music and to just “let them handle it.”

The suit also states that in later meetings, Kaptain offered King a “special administrative position” to be paid for using money from the $50,000 donation. King also claims in later meetings, he was offered “bribe” money as a stipend that would come from the donated funds.

“Throughout his 18 years at LSU, Mr. King worked tirelessly to protect the students and uphold the highest degree of ethics," Craft said. "He refused to engage in behavior he considered wrong; and for that, he was severely punished.”

The suit also describes a separate incident involving a $500,000 donation made to the LSU Foundation, which King had secured himself. Those funds were supposed to be specifically endowed for the purpose of scholarships for LSU Golden Girls, according to the suit. King claims he was asked “to change the wording of the donor’s endowment,” but refused to change the document, the suit states.

King was placed on paid administrative leave without any explanation last month. A few weeks later, he was terminated for misconduct.

“As a man of principle and a standup guy, Mr. King not only stood up for what was right, but looks forward to his day in court to vindicate his name," Craft said.

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