WEST PALM BEACH — Craig Sponsky, former director of athletics for Oxbridge Academy, sued the private high school Tuesday, alleging he was scapegoated amid negative publicity regarding a “toxic” work environment and overemphasis on athletics.
In a five-page complaint filed in Palm Beach County circuit court, Sponsky alleged that his “flawless” nationwide reputation was destroyed, his earning power reduced and that he suffered mental and emotional anguish. The suit, filed by lawyer Jack Scarola, asked for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The school’s decision to fire CEO Robert Parsons and not renew the contracts of Sponsky and head football coach Doug Socha, followed an internal investigation prompted by reporting in the Palm Beach Post. The Post reported that a number of current and former staff members believed the school overemphasized athletics, football in particular, at the expense of academics.
The school, which charges tuition of about $31,500, was founded by Palm Beach billionaire Bill Koch, an energy industrialist who remains its chairman.
In a May 26 letter to Sponsky, Executive Vice President and Board Member David Rosow wrote the decision not to renew Sponsky’s contract was “based upon your actions and conduct as an employee and as Director of Athletics, including but not limited to material deficiencies in program emphasis, compliance with School policies, and compliance with Florida athletic guidelines against impermissible benefits to athletes.”
Sponsky countered in his suit that he did nothing wrong and only followed the board’s directives.
A full report will appear on PalmBeachPost.com later today.