Broward School District Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit By Tod Aronovitz | 01/08/14 | 0 Comment

The Broward County School District agreed to pay a total of $275,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a husband and wife who helped to expose corruption in the district’s facilities department, according to a recent Sun-Sentinel article.

Valarie Marchetti and her husband, Michael Marchetti, told law enforcement officials in 2009 about a number of instances in which they believed School Board members and district management misused taxpayer dollars for their own benefit, including taking payment from a developer in exchange for helping to reduce impact fees.  The Marchettis helped officials to arrest two School Board members, Beverly Gallagher and Stephanie Kraft, on corruption charges.

Valarie Marchetti alleged in the suit that making these statements to law enforcement officials caused her to lose her job as a research assistant with the school district. The school district maintains that Marchetti was laid off in 2011 as a part of a general reduction in force due to budget cuts, not in retaliation for whistleblowing.

The School Board agreed unanimously on December 17, 2013 to settle the case. The Marchettis will be paid $190,000 out of the settlement funds as a whistleblower reward.  The case had been scheduled for a jury trial in January 2014.

School Superintendent Robert Runcie stated, “This settlement is a good and fair compromise for all parties.”  The Marchettis made no comment because of an agreement in the settlement that they would not discuss the case.

Government Fraud and Whistleblowers

Employees, contractors, and others who have inside knowledge of questionable practices related to government billings can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in a qui tam lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

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The Miami qui tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with Miami whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the federal, state, and county government agencies. Click on the link to read more about our Miami Whistleblower / qui tam services.

Contact Miami Whistleblower qui tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss a case.