DETROIT - Turkia Mullin addressed the press Friday for the first time since being fired as CEO of Detroit Metro Airport and her lawsuit settlement against the Wayne County Airport Authority.
"I am thrilled with the judge's decision. We worked through a grueling trial with 16 witnesses. We finally got the real facts out on the table," Mullin said. "We are gratified that the only person who really mattered --the judge -- listened to the whole story and not just snippets. The airport was wrong on what they did and how they did it."
Mullin was fired from her CEO position in 2011 amid an ongoing separate severance scandal from her old job with Wayne County. She said she deserves the money because she was fired for no reason.
An arbitrator ruled Wednesday that Mullin will get $712,328 in severance, the salary she would have earned if she were allowed to complete her three-year contract.
Mullin was asking for $750,000 but was denied "because there is no evidence that even if Ms. Mullin was not discharged on October 31, 2011, her contract would have been renewed at the end of the first three year term," the arbitrator's final opinion reads.
"For the past year my professional life has been put on hold. The judge's decision restores my reputation as an honest, hard-working person," Mullin said. "I am proud of my accomplishments. Throughout my life I have worked hard to achieve my goals. I have worked since age 12 -- even in school -- and I look forward to getting back to business. This ordeal has made me stronger. I look forward to putting my knowledge and experience back to work. It is a great day!"
Mullin's attorney Raymond Sterling said, "The airport did not have good cause to fire her. The contract the airport had with her listed just cause to fire her. The judge ruled there was absolutely no cause to terminate Turkia Mullin. Now they have to pay for their errors. The airport failed to honor its contractual obligation to pay her for the three years of her contract. She did have a binding contract. The airport breached it. They owe her the money. It is that simple."
The Airport Authority Board released this statement on Thursday:
"The Airport Authority Board is disappointed with the outcome of the arbitration and continues to believe the Board took appropriate action in 2011 when it terminated Ms. Mullin for cause. It is important to note that this arbitration decision does not impact taxpayers because the Airport Authority is entirely self-sustaining and does not receive tax dollars to support airport operations."