KCPS loses lawsuit claiming wrongful termination; district plans to appeal

Cary Newsome fired in 2011; awarded $500K at trial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Jackson County jury awarded $500,000 to a former employee of the Kansas City Public Schools in a wrongful termination lawsuit that wrapped Friday.

Cary Newsome, KCPS' former purchasing director, won the lawsuit after convincing the jury he'd been terminated for his refusal to purchase three vehicles that would be used for employees' personal use within the district.

"He was a whistleblower," said attorney Eric Smith. "He had complained about vehicle purchases, and the next day, he was fired."

Newsome was fired in 2011.

"It was... a blank feeling," Newsome said. "You don't know what to think. I remember asking the questions (about) why I was being terminated."

KCPS released a statement Sunday about the verdict.

Carey(sp) Newsome worked for KCPS as the Purchasing Director under the previous administration. He alleged that he was discriminated against as an African-American and that his firing was retaliation for filing his claims of discrimination. The jury found no discrimination, and no retaliation. The jury did believe that he was wrongfully discharged and awarded damages to him. KCPS expects to appeal this verdict and believes that this judgment will be overturned on appeal.

Newsome and his attorney said they are ready for an appeal. Newsome, who now works in Texas, says he has no regrets from his time with KCPS.

"I have nothing but admiration for the employees there," he said. "My journey is over with them. I wish them nothing but luck and success."

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