BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
August 07, 2012
Southern University breached the contract of then-Athletic Director Greg LaFleur when it announced "to the whole country" last year, three days after his arrest on a misdemeanor prostitution charge, that LaFleur had been fired, his attorney told a judge Monday.
A Houston jury acquitted LaFleur on the charge earlier this year.
LaFleur was arrested April 3, 2011, and on April 6, 2011, Southern announced in a news release that he had been terminated. LaFleur, who received a termination letter April 8, 2011, sued the university April 14, 2011.
LaFleur attorney Scott Wilson argued Monday to state District Judge Todd Hernandez that Southern breached LaFleur's contract because the university had no cause to fire him.
Then-Chancellor Kofi Lomotey has said his decision to fire LaFleur was one that had to be made quickly for the overall stability of the school's athletic program.
Wilson also argued LaFleur was not given an opportunity to refute the alleged cause for his termination.
Winston Decuir Jr., who represents the Southern Board of Supervisors in the case, countered that LeFleur was given 30-day notice on April 8, 2011, and was paid until May 6, 2011 - which gave LaFleur plenty of time to appeal.
"He provided no good reason for not responding," Decuir told Hernandez. "He had an opportunity to appeal. He failed to take advantage of it."
But Wilson said LaFleur's firing was a "done deal" on April 6, 2011.
"The decision had been made. They announced it to the whole country," he argued.
Wilson added that Southern could have placed LaFleur on paid or unpaid administrative leave after his arrest, but chose not to do so.
Decuir asked Hernandez to take the arguments under advisement and rule after the judge has had a chance to review LaFleur's deposition testimony in the case. Hernandez agreed to do so.
LaFleur, 53, is seeking damages, including his base salary for the remainder of his contract, which he says was to expire June 30, 2013.
LaFleur, a former LSU tight end who played for three NFL teams from 1981 to 1986, was attending the NCAA men's Final Four in Houston seeking potential candidates for the vacant Southern men's basketball coaching job when he was arrested during a prostitution sting.
He was accused of soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute to engage in "sexual intercourse for hire," according to a criminal complaint.
A six-person jury found him not guilty.