USA Track & Field and Amateur Sports and Small Business and Sports Business

USA Track & Field hit with wrongful termination suit

October 20, 2010

Former USA Track and Field CEO Doug Logan filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the governing body Wednesday, seeking payment after suddenly being fired last month following a 26-month tenure.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, seeks unspecified compensatory damages for terminating his contract, which lasted through 2013 and had about $1.7 million still to be paid.

USATF Chairwoman Stephanie Hightower released a statement saying Indianapolis-based USA Track and Field would vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.

"The filing of this suit and its ultimate resolution will not affect USATF and how we serve the sport," Hightower said.

Logan would not comment when reached by The Associated Press.

The lawsuit, however, was in line with Logan's previous claims that he was fired without cause. USATF, meanwhile, has said it has reasons for firing the outspoken CEO in September and doesn't owe him anything.

Logan has admitted to being a lightning rod who did not get along well with many of the members and volunteers in the track world, but said that's what the sport needed to lift itself out of the doldrums after languishing through years of doping scandals and bad characters.

Should Logan receive the remainder owed to him on his contract, it would represent a significant chunk of cash for an organization that operated on a budget of about $15 million last year and had cash reserves of about $3 million.

A few weeks after his firing, Logan revealed to the AP that he had signed a new contract that gave him a $140,000-a-year increase in base salary on June 26, only nine days before USATF began the process of terminating him. Hightower said the contract negotiations and the review of Logan's job performance were being handled on separate tracks and happened to collide.

The terms of the new contract would leave USATF on the hook for an extra $465,000 if Logan were to receive the entire payout.

Though Logan has insisted USATF never had cause to fire him, the lawsuit seeks to take advantage of the fact that Logan signed a new contract so close to the time he was fired.

"Nothing that Logan did or failed to do between June 26 and September 13, 2010, constitutes 'Cause' to terminate his employment under the Second Employment Agreement," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also states that USATF offered Logan a $500,000 severance in exchange for a promise to not file suit, but Logan refused.

USATF has begun the search for Logan's successor and hopes to hire someone by early next year.

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