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Ousted Visit Annapolis CEO seeks $75K+ from CEO of Historic Annapolis for tortious interference

| July 06, 2020, 06:05 PM

Rams Head

Connie Del Signore
Connie Del Signore, the former CEO of Visit Annapolis has filed a lawsuit against Robert Clark, the President and CEO of Historic Annapolis and former Chairman of the Visit Annapolis Board of Directors, seeking more than $75,000 in damages for tortious interference. The suit alleges that Clark crafted a scheme to have Del Signore terminated under a misconduct clause in her contract based on false accusations.

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Rams Head

The suit was filed late on Thursday afternoon just before Circuit Court closed for the long weekend and was obtained by Eye On Annapolis earlier today.  Del Signore is represented by Timothy F. Maloney of the Greenbelt based firm, Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA.

It is a complex tale. In the 20-page suit Del Signore states that Clark, in his role as the CEO and President of Historic Annapolis wanted Visit Annapolis to divert funds to help complete renovations on the Historic Annapolis owned James Brice House and to build another facility to house his offices. She says she rebuffed the efforts and as a result, Clark began a plan to have her terminated.

Some of the allegations of the 20-page complaint include:

  • Del Signore received exemplary reviews including this year; many of which were signed off by Clark himself (Pg. 5, ¶22)
  • Clark wanted to divert dedicated funds to help with the renovations of the James Brice House which Historic Annapolis was renovating (Pg. 7/8, ¶36/37/38)
  • Clark attempted to influence the General Assembly to fun a City Dock project which would have raised taxes on Visit Annapolis “hospitality partners”. Del Signore opposed this legislation. (Pg. 9, ¶43)
  • After Del Signore rebuffed these moves, the suit alleges Clark made it known that he would remove Del Signore from her position. (Pg. 9, ¶45)
  • According to the suit, Clark constructed a false misconduct charge and presented it to the new Chairman of the Visit Annapolis Board of Directors, Gary Jobson. (Pg. 9/10, ¶46 and Pg. 11/12, ¶52/53)
  • Clark alleged that Del Signore created a work environment that was tolerant of sexual harassment, and being under the influence on the job. (Pg 10, ¶48)
  • Del Signore refutes the allegations and states that Clark had made sexual passes on her in the past and at one point attempted to kiss her (Pg. 11, ¶49 and Pg. 12, ¶56)
  • Del Signore admits that there was an inappropriate relationship between a senior employee and a junior employee. When another employee reported the relationship, Del Signore investigated it and ended the misconduct. Del Signore alleges that the senior employee involved in the relationship was cooperating with Clark and pushing for Del Signore’s removal. (Pg. 10, ¶48)
  • Initially, Del Signore was told by Board Chair Gary Jobson that she had to quit or resign early. In response, she and Jobson agreed that she could retire early and retain her post-employment benefits. (Pg. 10, ¶47 and Pg. 11, ¶50/51)
  • During a second call on which Clark was present, she was notified that she was no longer able to resign or retire and that she was being terminated under the misconduct clause as Jobson had learned of additional misconduct including diverting funds to a family member and misuse of thousands of dollars. Del Signore alleges that Clark intentionally reported these items knowing it would trigger the termination. (Pg. 11, ¶51/52/53)
  • She states that subsequent to her removal, a $22,000 payment was made to an unknown vendor and authorized by the acting Executive Director, the Treasurer, and Chairman. Additionally, she says that the acting Executive Director has been making efforts to award a sole source contract for the agency’s website to a friend of her husband. (Pg. 13, ¶57/58)
  • Del Signore says she is not suing Visit Annapolis because Clark was not acting on behalf of the organization but acting in the interests of Historic Annapolis and his own personal interests. (Pg. 14, ¶61)

You can view the entire complaint below.  If it does not render, here is a link to download the document.

Download (PDF, 1.52MB)

The termination of Del Signore has been vague at best with little information being released or commented on by Visit Annapolis. Initially, we heard that she had abruptly resigned her position on April 8th. Upon follow up, it was unclear if she resigned or was being terminated. We obtained a memo to the Board of Directors indicating that they were hiring an attorney to complete an investigation; however the results have not been made available. Del Signore’s attorney declined to comment and Robert Clark was unavailable when we called.

Del Signore is demanding a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. No court dates have been set at this time.

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Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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