Former Georgia Perimeter College President Anthony Tricoli filed a racketeering lawsuit this week against several college and University System of Georgia officials, claiming that they conspired to set him up to take the fall for a school shortfall that reached $25 million.
Tricoli said while president of the college, his budget officers gave him one picture about the school’s financial situation and gave the University System quite another. He said both school and University System budget officials intentionally withheld information from him.
He wasn’t told about the school’s financial problems until just before he was forced to resign, Tricoli said.
University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby offered him an administrative job with the system — a common practice for outgoing presidents — if he resigned, the lawsuit said. Tricoli said Huckaby reneged on the offer shortly after he resigned from the college post.
Tricoli told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that he has applied unsuccessfully for about 120 positions in higher education since resigning from the GPC post in early 2012.
“The fallout has been tremendous and devastating both professionally and personally,” he said in an email to the AJC.
A University System spokesman said officials there had not seen the complaint and would not comment on pending litigation.
The AJC reported in 2012 that state audits and a University System analysis showed the school had been overspending its budget by millions of dollars for several years and had whittled its cash reserves to almost nothing. A University System audit found that the school’s senior fiscal leadership, including Tricoli, ignored the warning signs about the college’s poor finances.
Tricoli said school and system officials deliberately kept financial information from him.
To absorb the shortfall after Tricoli left, the college laid off 282 faculty and staff. The school was also sanctioned by an accreditation agency.
The lawsuit names several current and former college employees, Huckaby, members of his staff, members of the Board of Regents and Attorney General Sam Olens. It asks for unspecified financial damages.
By Janel Davis and James Salzer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution