LIMA — A former employee of Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority has filed a lawsuit against the agency and several employees alleging he was fired for being a whistle-blower.
David Boninsegna filed the lawsuit this month in Allen County Common Pleas Court seeking his job back, back pay, service time credit, more than $25,000 in damages and legal fees. Boninsegna was fired Aug. 13 from the job he held since 2006.
The lawsuit names as defendants the agency, Executive Director Anna Schnippel, Assistant Executive Director Tiffany Wright, and Bruce Monford, an employee of the agency.
Boninsegna said he reported unethical and possibly criminal behavior the three defendants were participating in during the course of their jobs to the Ohio Ethics Commission, the lawsuit said.
The Ethics Commission notified the Lima Police Department. The lawsuit said the investigation is still going and Boninsegna became a police informant in March.
That investigation centers on falsification of agency records that included time cards, the reporting of work time while wrongly being paid for that time and records involving employee workers’ compensation claims, the lawsuit said.
Schnippel is facing one count of misdemeanor falsification at Lima Municipal Court. She has pleaded not guilty and her case is pending. Wright and Monford have not been charged with any crimes.
Schnippel could not be reached for comment Monday.
Lima Police Department officers raided Met Housing on April 3. Nearly a month after the raid, Schnippel issued Boninsegna written warnings accusing him of failing to follow instructions and failing to properly request the use of a vehicle per agency policy, according to the lawsuit.
Schnippel also issued a written warning alleging Boninsegna failed to properly document and or maintain tenant records per policy. She also said Boninsegna refused to complete an inspection, according to court records.
Schnipppel issued a written statement to employees of the agency telling them any complaints or concern had to be reported to agency officials through the chain of command, according to court records.
On May 31, Boninsegna told an attorney for the agency he assisted the Lima Police Department in an investigation of the agency and the three defendants he named in the lawsuit.
On June 25, Schnippel was placed on paid administrative leave and Wright headed the agency. Schnippel later returned from her suspension on Aug. 28, the lawsuit said.
During her suspension, Boninsegna had a run-in with Monford which Monford accused Boninsegna of following him. Monford told a supervisor and said he wanted it to stop. Boninsegna denied he followed Monford, the lawsuit said.
Boninsegna and Monford nearly came to blows and had to be separated at work, according to the lawsuit.
Met Housing hired a third party to investigate the incident. The investigator, Catherine Kouns Born of Clemans Nelson and Associates, said Boninsegna lied during the investigation. Wright, who was the acting director, fired Boninsegna on Aug. 13, the lawsuit said.
Boninsegna said he had a duty to report possible unethical or criminal behavior. Doing so was protected under the law. The defendants conspired and used that against him, and then went after Boninsegna, which ultimately led to his termination, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit is the latest in years of litigation involving the agency. Two former employees, including former long-time Executive Director Cindi Ring, sued over their terminations.
A receptionist at the agency, Cheryl Lawson, was charged with obstructing official business, falsification and workers’ compensation fraud, all misdemeanors filed at Lima Municipal Court.