A former WorkNet Pinellas employee has sued County Commissioner Susan Latvala, alleging defamation and unjust termination.
Robyn Poppick lost her $45,000-a-year job within days of using students in a federally funded program to collect petitions in March 2010 for Latvala opponent Beverley Billiris. Latvala said it was illegal because federal stimulus money helped pay for the program. Poppick said it was an educational exercise.
The U.S. Department of Labor found no evidence stimulus money was misspent. The 20 petitions were never given to the supervisor of elections, a necessary factor for prosecution, the agency said.
Poppick's suit alleges that losing the job caused her "unwanted bad publicity" and "humiliation" and sent her into bankruptcy.
Latvala declined comment. Poppick's attorney, John Shahan, could not be reached.