Former Webster University VP files suit against Webster for wrongful discharge

According to an StL Today article from this morning, St. Louis attorney Debbie Champion of Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, LLC, filed a lawsuit against Webster University on behalf of David Garafalo, its former Vice President of Finance and Administration.  The incidents stem from a 2010 federal grand jury indictment against South Carolina prison inmate Michelle Owens.  Prosecutors allege that Owens, while an inmate, misrepresented her address and other information to successfully enroll in Webster’s distance learning program and acquire federal financial aid.  Prosecutors allege that Owens obtained financial aid on behalf of at least two dozen other inmates, many of whom had no idea that they were enrolled.  Garafalo’s suit contends that he was fired by Webster after urging his bosses to fix the problem and report the problem to the U.S. Department of Education.  Separately in the suit, Garafalo alleges that the University awarded contracts to companies that were run by board members of the University.  Webster spokesperson Susan Kerth stated that Garafalo was not fired and that all contracts were awarded in arms-length transactions.