POSTED: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 11:26pm
UPDATED: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 8:10pm
JACKSONVILLE — Toni Wright is the former department chair of Theatre at Lon Morris College.
After 8 years with the school...she says they've left her...and others...financially ruined.
Something she never expected to happen in her life.
"...When you ask that question, it almost brings to the surface the emotions of it all...I could never have imagined," Wright said.
Wright believes some of the major issues with LMC started when former president Miles McCall compromised what the school was founded upon.
"The school had stated in their mission statement that they were a Christian school...and Dr. McCall rephrased that mission statement and started calling us a 'Faith-based' school," Wright said.
As far as the school's financial problems...she says it was a combination of things that caused the college to get to where it is now...more than $20 Million in the hole.
She says McCall came on board with a $2 million deficit...but it only got worse.
In hopes to increase enrollment...that's when the football program came along in 2009.
"When the faculty were informed of the football team, one of the first things we asked was...'Ok now you have 300 new students, but how are you gonna pay for all the football equipment?" she said.
Then...the college had to figure out where to put all the new students...so they put them up at local motels...which led to crime...and ultimately a lawsuit brought on by the motels.
Followed by employees not getting paid on time in 2011...and ultimately...all employees received the infamous e-mail this past May.
"First thing that went through my mind was...'Oh my gosh...did she really just lay me off...in an e-mail?" Wright said.
All employees except for 11 core staff members were let go...the subject line of the e-mail said "furloughed"...but Wright says that was written by the Director of Human Resources...the body of the e-mail however...was written by Dawn Ragan...the chief restructuring officer.
"...in which the word 'Terminate'...is used repeatedly...there were no if's and's or but's about her language," Wright said.
She also tells KETK all employees were told if they spoke to the media, the consulting firm wouldn't be as up front with them about what's going on in the future.
We did speak with another employee who was financially ruined by this...this person wishes to remain anonymous...but gave us this quote:
"They've been telling us for months now that we should pray for the college. But right now what I'm praying for is the strength to forgive them for the unforgivable way that they've treated us."