Turkia Mullin files lawsuit against airport authority board

Former CEO claims meeting over her termination was illegal

DETROIT - Turkia Mullin filed her first lawsuit against the Wayne County Airport Authority on Thursday.

Mullin and her lawyers contend the Oct. 31, 2011, special meeting held by the Board to terminate her employment contract as CEO was illegal under the Open Meetings Act.

In the lawsuit, Mullin claims the Board violated her rights and the rights of the public by illegally convening a closed session where they discussed and decided on her employment.

Read: Turkia Mullin lawsuit

"Under the Open Meetings Act, they were required to have all the decision making and all the discussions about why they were letting her go be done in open, in an open meeting. She even advised them of this, she requested that at the meeting," Mullin's attorney, Raymond Sterling. "She said, 'Look, if you're going to talk about me, I want that to be in the open so that I can answer any questions that you have."

The Wayne County Airport Authority voted 5-2 to relieve Mullin of her duties and terminate her three-year contract. The board said there is a clause in her contract that states she can be fired for theft, dishonesty and unethical business practices. They did not elaborate on which triggered their decision.

Sterling said he's not ruling out more lawsuits in the future.

"She wants them to explain what, if any cause, is there for terminating her. What did she do that was illegal or improper while she was at the airport," he said.

Sterling says Mullin wants back-pay, her court costs and her attorney fees covered.

Mullin and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano have been under fire since news broke in September that Mullin was given a $200,000 severance when she left her position with the county to become CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority.

Mullin later agreed to repay it and gave the county a check for the after-tax amount of $135,900. Mullin has since been fired from her position with the airport authority.

The county and the FBI are investigating the deal.

Copyright 2011 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.