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Former CEO Suing UDWI Electric Co-Op For Contract Breach

Brian Sparks has served as the UDWI CEO for about the last decade.

The former CEO of the Utilities District of Western Indiana, who was fired this summer, is now suing the rural electric membership corporation (REMC).

In a complaint filed Monday, Brian Sparks alleges breach of contract and unpaid wages.

The suit references a clause in Sparks’ contract that states:

“REMC may cancel this Agreement for other reasons with or without cause, which needs to be disclosed to the CEO, by giving the CEO thirty (30) days’ notice in writing, and then paying to the CEO severance pay consisting of (3) years’ salary plus all accrued unused vacation and sick leave, plus an amount equal to the cost of thirty-six (36) months’ individual and dependent/family health insurance plan.”

In his complaint, Sparks says he hasn’t received any of the compensation he’s due.

According to the co-op’s 2016 tax returns, Sparks’ annual salary plus additional compensation was $276,522. When the electric co-op fired Sparks June 30 the board cited “failure to live up to management expectations.”

The firing came after the board of directors commissioned an internal audit to review the co-ops finances. The organization is also under an active FBI investigation.

Sparks worked for the company for 33 years, serving about 10 years as CEO. During Sparks’ tenure there were multiple claims of money mismanagement. The complaint says Sparks did not engage in any “act or omission of dishonestly, fraud, misrepresentation, conflict of interest, breach of fiduciary duty, or any act of misfeasance, malfeasance or moral turpitude sufficient to terminate his employment.”

Last month, the board hired Doug Childs to replace Sparks. ​Child declined to comment citing pending litigation.

When reached by phone Thursday afternoon, board president Ron Thompson said he not aware that Sparks had filed a suit and declined to comment further.

Read Sparks’ full complaint below:

Brian Sparks vs. UDWI Complaint by Indiana Public Media News on Scribd

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