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Property appraiser, accuser differ on some details of their relationship

On May 21, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Rob Turner fired his human resources director, Carolyn Filippone. Her termination came as the Tampa Bay Times was preparing to report on a sexual discrimination complaint Filippone had filed against Turner in 2010 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In the story, Turner acknowledged sending pornographic emails to Filippone, whom he said he once dated. The emails, she says, are evidence of his unwanted sexual advances after their breakup, which preceded her getting moved to another office. He says they were a mutual exchange that took place outside of work. Following is a look at their sometimes conflicting accounts based on public records; Filippone's EEOC complaint, Turner's response and her rebuttal; and interviews with their attorneys.

Filippone

1989 -1997: Senior administrative assistant at NationsBank.

July 1, 1997: Hired by Turner as a part-time automation training specialist at $17.95 an hour. No resume, application or college degree are included in her personnel file.

May 12, 1998: Files for divorce from her husband.

June 23, 1998: Divorce finalized.

July 31, 1998: Title changed to director of training, part time, same pay.

May 3, 1999: Receives associate's degree in liberal arts from Hillsborough Community College.

??? - 2006: An EEOC complaint says she had "an adult relationship" with Turner ending in 2006, with an unspecified start date.

2000-2002: The time frame during which they actually dated, according to her current legal team's investigator.

July 24, 2001: Receives 16 percent pay raise from $21.27 an hour to $24.73. No explanation cited in personnel file.

2002-2005: Had occasional drinks, dinners or lunches with Turner.

Feb. 17, 2003: Promoted to full-time director of human resources and training. Pay increases 22 percent from $26.65 to $32.45 an hour.

Aug. 28, 2003: Given 6.7 percent raise to $34.62 per hour, coinciding with annual evaluation.

Aug. 31, 2004: "Education" added to job title, given 7 percent raise to $37.03 an hour.

Aug. 12, 2005: Receives bachelor of arts degree from USF's College of Business Administration.

Nov. 11, 2007 - Feb. 17, 2009: Filippone gets more than 40 emails from Turner's personal coount containing graphic porn or links to pornographic web sites.

Sept. 19, 2008: Final pay raise, from $45.19 to $47.12, before salaries are frozen for county workers. Community services added to job duties.

Feb. 9, 2009: Receives email from Turner indicating his wife has seen text communication between the two. It reads: "Major problem at home. I will contact you asap. Donna tracked your number to you. Blame me for anything."

Early 2009, but after Feb. 9 email: Moved from downtown property appraiser's office, where Turner works, to Brandon office.

March 24, 2010: Files sexual discrimination claim against Turner with EEOC. Claims Turner made intermittent verbal requests for sexual intercourse, and other advances, from 2001 to 2010. Says the last was on March 12, 2010, when she claims he made a comment about her breasts. Alleges that she was banished to Brandon office, cut off from contact with Turner and other peers, and had some job duties taken away after Turner's wife, Donna, discovered his text messages to Filippone.

April 18, 2012: EEOC dismisses Filippone's complaint without explanation.

May 21, 2012: Fired by Turner after a Tampa Bay Times asks him questions about Filippone's EEOC complaint.

Tuesday: Sues Turner, claiming wrongful termination.

Turner

Nov. 5, 1996: Elected Hillsborough property appraiser after 23 years in banking, most recently NationsBank.

July 1, 1997: Hires Carolyn Hendricks, whose married name would later become Filippone, to part-time job of automation training specialist.

Nov. 7, 2000: Turner comfortably wins reelection.

Oct. 31, 2001: Turner's prior wife, Vivian, files for divorce.

October 2000 - first quarter of 2002: Time frame Turner initially gives in May 2012 interview while acknowledging he once dated Filippone.

October 2001 - first quarter of 2002: Time frame he gives after his chief deputy, Warren Weathers, corrects him.

Early 2002: Begins dating his current wife, then Donna Marino.

Early 2002 to 2009: Time frame during which Turner said he occasionally goes to lunch, dinner or for drinks with Filippone, as he said he does with other office employees.

Nov. 13, 2002: Divorce finalized.

Aug. 31. 2004: Easily wins reelection in primary.

July 7, 2007: Marries Donna Marino.

November 2007 to February 2009: Admits to sending pornographic emails to Filippone, along with such items as cartoons and pictures of kittens and puppies. He contends the emails were part of a mutual and consensual exchange that took place after hours using personal equipment.

Aug. 26, 2008: Turner comfortably wins reelection in primary.

Early 2009: Says his wife discovered communications from Fillipone, but says they were sexually graphic images sent to him. Acknowledges in a response that, in an "unfortunate lapse in judgment," he responded in kind.

March 2009: Moves Filippone's human resources staff to Brandon office, along with information technology employees. Contends it was part of a larger, preventative move to protect sensitive office materials and equipment from weather threats.

June 2009: Says that, during a meeting, the topic of Fillipone's breasts was broached. But he said it was only after she mentioned having a recent surgical procedure. Contends his only response was that he "hoped her surgery went well."

May 10, 2010: In response to Filippone's discrimination complaint, he denies making requests for sexual intercourse or sending her "any" sexual emails, text messages or photographs beyond the series of texts that his wife discovered, despite his later admission to the Times. Turner presents pictures showing Filippone attended social events she claimed to have been banned from as well as other evidence that she regularly visited County Center.

May 21, 2012: Fires Filippone after a Times reporter asks him about the complaint, saying she was dismissed for making false allegations to the EEOC.

Property appraiser, accuser differ on some details of their relationship 07/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:53pm]
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