DETROIT (WWJ) – Wayne County’s Airport Authority Board has called for the dismissal of Detroit Metro Airport CEO Turkia Mullin. The vote for her removal passed 5-2 during a closed session Monday afternoon.
Mullin has been the focus of a political drama for weeks over the $200,000 severance package she received when she left another county job for the airport position.
Speaking to reporters following the vote, Mullin said she plans to file a lawsuit.
“My reputation has been compromised. My professional life and public service have been severely impacted,” said Mullin. “I am therefore seeking legal remedy and have obtained the legal services of the Bloomfield Hills-based law firm Raymond J. Sterling, Sterling Attorneys at Law.”
In a statement to the media, Mullin said she feels compelled to express her disappointment in the way things turned out. “Clearly, questions surrounding my severance package should not have resulted in my wrongful termination,” she said. – Read Mullin’s complete statement –
Mullin’s contract says she gets $700,000 if she’s let go “without cause,” but the board has said Mullin is not entitled to that money.
As to why, WWJ legal analyst and Talk Radio 1270 Morning Show host Charlie Langton said the board isn’t telling.
“Turkia Mullin gets nothing as of this moment. But what the big mystery is right now is what are the specifics?” Langton said.
“They cited the section of her contract that says you could be fired for cause. But when pressed on specifics as to exactly what she did, the board members were silent,” he said.
Attorney Raymond Sterling said he and his client would like to hear that reason, too.
“It’s their burden, under Michigan law, it’s their burden to show cause for termination,” Sterling said. “If they wanna hide the cause, that to me that there is no cause. If there is a cause, say it. Say it to all of you,” he said.
Metro Airport CFO Tom Naughton has been named interim CEO.
Earlier Monday, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano was asked whether the scandal will set him back.
“No, not at all. I’m very confident in the work that we’ve done,” said Ficano. “You can look at the numbers. MEDC (Michigan Economic Development Corporation) said, in the past two years, there has been $6 million of investment in Wayne County,” he said.
Ficano has called the Mullin dispute a “distraction.” (More from Ficano here).
County workers who recently accepted pay cuts have cried foul over the severance deal.
Mullin has returned the money. Two Wayne County employees were suspended and another fired in connection with the payment.
The FBI is investigating.