Former North Orange County Community College District Chancellor James Kellerman has accepted a $385,000 settlement in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the district. District spokeswoman Donna Hatchett said the district did not admit any liability or wrongdoing in settling the case on the eve of a scheduled civil trial.
Neither Kellerman nor his lawyer, Ronald G. Parker, could be reached for comment.
Kellerman joined the district as vice chancellor in 1985 and was appointed chancellor in February, 1986. He was placed on administrative leave April 12, 1989, after two trustees accused him of misusing his expense account. The board voted to terminate his contract May 23, 1989.
He sued the district the following October, alleging that the firing cost him his $97,000-a-year job and the status that went with it. He was subsequently hired by an association of community colleges in Missouri.
Kellerman's suit also contended that two trustees defamed him with their allegations and that the board denied him an opportunity to respond. He also claimed that trustees trumped up unfavorable performance evaluations to justify firing him.
Orange County district attorney's investigators declined to file charges against Kellerman after checking out allegations that he accepted paid vacations and other gifts from a firm that later won a $1.5-million district contract.
The district earlier paid a $125,000 settlement to its previous chancellor, Leadie Clark, who was fired after several trustees objected to her leadership style.