LSU Alumni Assoc. president takes annual leave until suit is resolved

LSU Alumni Assoc. president takes annual leave until suit is resolved
Kay Heath
Kay Heath

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The president and CEO of the LSU Alumni Association, Dr. Charlie Roberts, has decided to go on annual leave from his post in the midst of a pending lawsuit related to a sex scandal.

Roberts' lawyer, Mary Olive Pierson, said he decided to use his accrued vacation because he does not want this to be a distraction and will be on leave until the suit is resolved.

"He went in this morning and after he was served yesterday, he and I had a conversation, and he agreed that taking annual leave would be something he should do to get away from this distraction. He didn't want the school or the association or anyone out there to be distracted by this, most of all, himself," said Pierson.

LSU released the following statement on Roberts:

“LSU Alumni Association President/CEO Charlie Roberts has taken annual leave from his post. LSU has initiated an immediate inquiry, in cooperation with the Alumni Association, into the allegations that have come to light this week. Cliff Vannoy, chief operating officer of the Alumni Association, will serve as acting CEO while Roberts is on leave.”

Kay Heath, who said she was a former marketing director who worked for Roberts, filed suit Aug. 1. She claims the two had a sexual relationship while working together. She said when the LSU Alumni Association found out about it, Dr. Roberts told her one of the two of them needed to resign. He suggested that she quit, get $21,000 in severance pay and then $3,200 monthly for life. But Heath says when those monthly payments suddenly stopped last month, she filed suit.

On Friday, Heath's attorney Jeff Sanford said they would be willing to drop the suit only against the LSU Alumni Association on one condition.

"Kay Heath feels like Dr. Roberts continued affiliation with the association is doing harm to the association and to many of the good employees and that's why she has made the offer to dismiss the case against the association upon his resignation or permanent termination," said Sanford.

"She's gone from greed to revenge,” said Mary Olive Pierson, Roberts’ lawyer. “I wonder just how many of the other seven deadly sins we're going to hear about before this is over. This is definitely a sign of serious weakness and lack of credibility of her allegations. It's a blatant attempt to blackmail the Alumni Association. I've never heard of such a thing that if you punish someone else, I'll stop punishing you."

In a five-page lawsuit filed August 1 in 19th Judicial District Court, Heath seeks financial compensation for what she claims was an agreement she made with Roberts in 2012.

The lawsuit also alleges that Roberts and an alumni association board member later persuaded Heath to resign from that position due to the sexual relationship. The complaint adds that from the time of her resignation in 2012 to July 2014, Heath was paid $3,200 a month, as well as given a $21,000 lump sum.

Pierson said Dr. Roberts is on leave until the case is resolved, and if retirement was ever an option, it's not any longer.

"Dr. Roberts is 78 years old. He may retire sometime in the future, but he's not going to do it now because we're not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking she caused it," said Pierson.

Roberts is denying the settlement ever existed.

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