CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The United Way of the Central Carolinas has settled a divisive discrimination lawsuit brought by ousted CEO Gloria Pace King for $700,000 although only a third of that money will come from the agency and none from the current fund raising campaign.
The United Way will pay $233,333 out of a reserve fund set aside for the costs of the lawsuit and the remaining $466,666 will be paid by insurance policies.
King was fired after a NewsChannel 36 I-Team investigation in July of 2008 revealed that she was being paid more than $2 million in retirement funds over the course of three years.
The revelation brought a firestorm of public criticism and changes at the charity agency.
New United Way Executive Director Jane McIntyre said she was relieved to have the 26 month ordeal behind her but added, "I don't think there are ever winners in a situation like this."
King hired prominent Charlotte attorney Bill Diehl and filed a race, gender and age discrimination claim. King had earlier dropped a defamation lawsuit against interim United Way CEO Mac Everett. Diehl's assistant said he was out of town conducting a deposition and unavailable for comment.
In August of 2008 then-board Chairman Graham Denton publicly apologized on behalf of the board for the retirement package which he said "...exceeds what the community expects." Faced with plummeting contributions and an erosion of confidence, Denton said, "We have made a serious mistake. We owe the community an apology."
King never apologized.
In a February 2009 radio interview on WBAV-FM 101.9 King defended her salary and retirement benefits saying, "I raised over $500 million." King said she thought the board was fully aware of her salary and benefits. "I have never given myself a raise. I have never asked for a specific amount of money.... Whatever they gave me, I said, 'Thank you very much.'"
But an extensive outside review of the board action leading up to the $2 million retirement commitment concluded that King engineered her own pay by controlling the flow of information from compensation consultants to the board.
The United Way put in checks and balances governing executive compensation after the I-Team's report. The agency also cut the size of the board by two-thirds - from 67 to 22 - and cut the staff more than half - from 97 to 42.
The new leader of the United Way of the Central Carolinas, Jane McIntyre, earns less than half what King was paid.