Richland’s fired former schools superintendent isn’t going away quietly.
Jim Busey is appealing a portion of the lawsuit he filed against the Richland School District for his termination three years ago. He voluntarily withdrew a marital discrimination claim earlier this spring, ending the lawsuit at the time.
But a federal judge tossed most of Busey’s other claims but the ex-superintendent is asking the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider one specific claim.
His attorney, Brian Iller of Kennewick, has said the evidence is clear the district did not provide his client proper written notice of his termination and otherwise violated his due process rights. Iller could not be reached Monday about the appeal.
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School board President Rick Jansons said the district’s attorneys are responding to the appeal, which he characterized as being based on a technicality.
“It is not concerning to the district at this time,” Jansons said of the lawsuit.
No hearing is currently scheduled and the district and Busey are expected to file briefs on the issue throughout the summer.
Busey was fired in January 2013 for violating his contract’s morality clause for an extramarital affair with a district employee conducted with the aid of district email accounts and a district-provided cellphone.
Busey and the woman met during school hours, often during lunch breaks and sometimes had sex during school hours but not on district property.
His dismissal also stemmed from “threats to misrepresent” the district, school officials said, including a claim that the board hid money in its budget and overestimated the money needed for a $98 million bond measure.
Busey and his attorney have said the sexual relationship was consensual and the district looked into it and found no concerns in fall 2012. Only after the Herald reported on the relationship in the weeks before Christmas did the board review the matter again and decide to fire him.
Busey’s lawsuit sought more than $1 million in damages, and he filed claims saying he was denied due process, that the district violated the state’s wage laws and the public records act, among other allegations.
U.S. Judge Tom Rice dismissed in December the wage claim and Busey’s assertion that he was still a district employee because he was improperly fired.
Then in mid-March, Rice reconsidered, at the district’s request, an earlier ruling he’d made allowing Busey's due process claim to move forward and dismissed that as well.