Former Manatee County School Superintendent Rick Mills was served with paperwork naming him in a lawsuit being brought by former Manatee High School football coach Joe Kinnan over the weekend, according to school board attorney James Dye.
Kinnan’s lawyers were granted a 120-day extension to serve Mills in December, saying their process servers could not find him at multiple addresses in Florida and Illinois. Mills denied he had been evading servers and said he had lived in the same residence since moving to Chicago in 2015. On Tuesday Mills confirmed he had been served the paperwork in Illinois.
In his report to the school board at the Tuesday night meeting, Dye also said Kinnan requested reimbursement for legal fees related to an investigation into the Manatee High School baseball team and a state Department of Education hearing regarding his teaching certification.
Dye said Kinnan’s request was denied.
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“One, (Kinnan) is not an employee, and two, both of those actions were dismissed — neither went to final order,” Dye said. “Before you can reimburse legal fees you need to go to final order.”
Dye told the school board that Pumphrey had requested legal representation, but had been denied because he is not a current employee. The district will cover the cost of Mills’ defense because the former superintendent’s contract promised legal representation for any cases arising during or after his tenure, Dye said.
Kinnan and his wife filed the suit against Mills, former Manatee schools investigator for the school board Troy Pumphrey and the School Board of Manatee County in September, alleging multiple counts of libel, slander and breach of contract.
The school district is seeking to have the suit dismissed in a hearing on Jan. 31.