Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Principal files suit charging invasion of privacy, libel against Hernando superintendent

Tim Urban says he wasn’t given the chance for a rebuttal.

Tim Urban says he wasn’t given the chance for a rebuttal.

BROOKSVILLE — Embattled Hernando County principal Tim Urban has filed a lawsuit against superintendent Lori Romano, accusing her and the school district of invasion of privacy and libel.

Urban, now the principal at the district's alternative school, Endeavor Academy, filed a complaint in Hernando County Circuit Court against Romano late last month tied to an investigation into his handling of bullying complaints last year while he was the principal at Eastside Elementary School. He said the investigation was released prematurely and without his rebuttal, damaging his reputation and causing him mental anguish. He's seeking damages in excess of $15,000.

On Jan. 22, the superintendent gave Urban a disciplinary letter, reprimanding him for a lack of "follow through" for failing to properly report three cases of teacher-on-teacher harassment at Eastside.

Romano said it was his job as principal to conduct an investigation, make a determination and communicate the findings. While Urban investigated the complaints and determined them to have merit, the investigation was filed into storage without district officials receiving the file, according to the district's investigation. Nobody was disciplined.

Urban disagreed with Romano's determination and filed a response letter.

In the letter, Urban claims district staffers knew about his investigation and purposely misled or withheld information from the superintendent. As Eastside's principal, he said, he performed a thorough investigation, made a timely determination and communicated his findings as directed by former superintendent Bryan Blavatt.

"I was disappointed to hear the blatant fabrication of misinformation that had been provided to you regarding the specific instructions that (Blavatt) informed us all to follow," he wrote.

He said he is the victim of chronic retaliation.

In the letter, he requested Romano to reinvestigate and consider removing the discipline letter. He asked that his name be cleared.

Romano declined to comment about the pending lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, filed March 27, Urban claims the superintendent or another district employee released a copy of the closed investigation to the media, including the Tampa Bay Times, without providing the rebuttal letter. It also says the district did not adhere to the mandatory 10-day waiting period before releasing the investigation.

The lawsuit contends that failing to include the rebuttal led to inaccuracies.

The Times received a copy of the investigation on Feb. 3 — after the 10-day period.

Principal files suit charging invasion of privacy, libel against Hernando superintendent 04/21/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2014 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' is exhausting, crass and too long


    Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a tarnished sequel demolishing the original's balderdash charm in a torrent of tumble-dry camera moves, CGI slosh and Elton John f-bombs.

    Taron Egerton stars in Twentieth Century Fox's "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," also starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, Mark Strong, Elton John, Halle Berry and Jeff Bridges. (Giles Keyte/20th Century Fox)
  2. New 'cantina-style' Taco Bells to serve alcohol, ditch drive-thrus by 2022


    Taco Bell is ditching drive-thrus and adding alcohol.

    Taco Bell plans to open more than 300 "cantina style" stores across the country that ditches the drive-thru and adds alcohol. [Times Files]
  3. Late Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella was a fighter until the end

    Swimming Preps

    At swim meets, Cailin Cannella would race side-by-side with her breastroke competitors, their heads bobbing in near unison.

    Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella, here at age 13, still was practicing last year after finding out she had osteosarcoma (bone cancer). [Times 2016]
  4. Gators roundtable: Was that really a Hail Mary?


    Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks' last-second heave beat Tennessee Saturday in Gainesville, but was it a Hail Mary, typically a pass made in desperation with little chance of success? The Times' college football coveage team weighs in:


    Feleipe Franks #13 of the Florida Gators celebrates with his teammates after he threw a 63-yard pass at the end of the game to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers 26-20 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
  5. Ernest Hooper: Hillsborough marks 100th anniversary of historic photo collection


    Everyone ends up with a favorite

    Or two or three or 10.

    Rest assured, however, no one who adores Tampa Bay, appreciates art or cherishes history can explore the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection without storing at least one snapshot in the mental scrapbook.

    Part of the Burgert Brothers collection now featured through the Hillsborough Public Library shows a beer garden on Central Avenue in Tampa from July 1942. [Burgert Brothers collection]