Shane T. Johnson, fired just three months into a four-year contract to be CEO of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, has sued the group for $645,000 in foregone wages.
Johnson was hired Oct. 2 and fired Feb. 13 “without reason or cause” in violation of the contract, he claims in a lawsuit filed last week in state District Court in Oklahoma City. He started work Nov. 15, the association said last year.
“No one at (the association) ever informed Plaintiff that his performance as CEO was ever anything less than commendable,” Johnson claims in the suit, filed by attorney Paul E. Quigley of the law firm Quigley, Henry & Hill.
After he was fired, Johnson claims, the association then provided him a list of 11 reasons, “each a baseless fabrication” and none qualifying “as a basis for termination under this contract.”
Further, Johnson claimed that the Realtors group “took steps to hide from Plaintiff the history, turmoil and disunity of (the association), staff turnover in excess of 50 percent, and a history of past and ongoing litigation.”
Keith Taggart, president of the association, declined to comment and referred questions to the group's attorney, Richard Ogden.
Ogden said the association will ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
“The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors ... feels the claims in the lawsuit are without merit and will vigorously defend the matter. Because this is a personnel matter, (the association's) comments should be reserved for the litigation or arbitration as would be appropriate.”
Johnson has worked with Realtors groups for a decade, most recently as CEO of Quad City Area Realtor Association in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Before that, he was CEO of St. Charles, Mo., Association of Realtors near St. Louis. Previously, he was deputy chief of staff for then U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Iowa.