QUINCY—Quincy Township is once again the subject of court action.
The township has been sued under the Pennsylvania Whistleblowers Law by a former employee.
According to the lawsuit filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, former township employee Corey Kaiser alleges township officials intentionally retaliated against him based upon his good faith reports to the appropriate authorities of wrongdoing and waste.
Kaiser further alleges the township and its employees’ illegal actions damaged him by causing “significant loss of wages and benefits, past, present and future, out-of-pocket expense, mental and emotional harm and harm to his reputation.”
Allegations of fraud, falsification of public records and a death
Kaiser was hired by the township in January 2007. He went on to become road foreman and acting roadmaster and was appointed roadmaster in March.
According to the complaint, during his employment with the township, Kaiser “learned of certain conduct by officers of Quincy Township, elected officials of Quincy and employees of Quincy that violated state and federal laws and that wasted the resources of the township in violation of those people’s fiduciary duties.”
The actions included misuse of services for personal gain, misuse of township property for personal gain, diversion of liquid fuels funds, insurance fraud, use of township employees to perform personal non-township work, election fraud and falsification of public records and documents.
The allegations came to the attention of numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies who opened an investigation into the matters.
According to the lawsuit, Kaiser cooperated with the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania Board of Ethics Commission the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Based on that investigation and information provided by Kaiser and other individuals, Township Supervisor Kerry Bumbaugh was arrested in May 2021 and charged with seven felony counts and three misdemeanor counts for allegedly defrauding an estimated $150,000 from the township and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
He was accused of misappropriating townships funds and resources by using township time, staff and equipment to work on his personal property, as well as falsifying grant and funding documents to cover his theft, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
He was released a short time later on $25,000 bail pending trial sometime in early 2022 and remained on the township board.
However Bumbaugh, 57, was found deceased Dec. 3, 2021, at the township building on Mentzer Gap Road, just days before he was to appear in court. In February, Franklin County Coroner Jeff Conner announced results of reports revealing his death was a suicide via a self-induced overdose of prescription medications.
Payback allegedly follows
According to Kaiser, when township officials and employees learned of his involvement in the investigation, they began a campaign of retaliation and harassment.
The lawsuit accuses Quincy Township of taking away/modifying Kaiser’s healthcare benefits with no basis or justification; under-compensating him for work; promoting/hiring other staff into positions of greater responsibility/compensation than he; falsely evaluating his work performance with negative evaluations; removing employee privileges; implementing a harsh, unbearable and stressful work environment; mental abuse; and harassment.
Kaiser was terminated from his job earlier this month.
Kaiser is seeking an amount in excess of $50,000, exclusive of all additional remedies warranted under the Pennsylvania Whistleblowers Law and Pennsylvania law including, but not limited to reinstatement with back-pay and benefits, compensatory damages, future loss damages, punitive damages, treble damages, attorney fee and expenses.
Quincy Township Administrator Mike Zeger declined comment on the suit.
“I am aware of it. I do not have any comment,” Zeger said.
The township has 20 days from notice of the lawsuit to respond to it in Franklin County Court.