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$100,000 settlement ends Dakota County Technical College whistleblower lawsuit

ST. PAUL -- Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn., and Minnesota State have agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging whistleblower retaliation.

Cameron Stoltz, DCTC’s former mens soccer coach and athletic coordinator, sued the school following his dismissal in 2016.

He claimed school leaders removed him because he raised concerns three years earlier about misspent federal funds, academic fraud and gender inequity in sports.

A 2013 investigation by Minnesota State, which oversees DCTC and 36 other public colleges and universities, validated some of Stoltz’s complaints.

That investigation found possible student-athlete eligibility violations and numerous financial irregularities concerning the school’s sports teams under then-President Ron Thomas.

Thomas, who first brought sports to the two-year school, retired before the investigation was completed.

His successor, Tim Wynes, split his time as president of both DCTC and nearby Inver Hills Community College until taking a job in Illinois last year.

Soon after Wynes took over at DCTC, Stoltz had his work hours cut by 25 percent without explanation. The faculty union later helped Stoltz win that time back.

In a preliminary ruling in December, Ramsey County District Judge Robyn Millenacker said Stoltz could continue making a case that DCTC’s attempt to reduce his work hours amounted to retaliation for his complaints against the school.

In the same ruling, however, Millenacker rejected the notion that DCTC, under new management, dismissed Stoltz in 2016 for what he’d done in 2013.

“The interval of time … is too vast and Plaintiff points to no other evidence establishing a reasonable inference of causation,” the judge wrote.

Further, Millenacker wrote that DCTC had legitimate grounds for declining to renew Stoltz’s contract in 2016.

Stoltz had become “progressively unprofessional and belligerent” with his supervisor, the judge wrote, and he failed to report that an assistant soccer coach had been cited by police for smoking marijuana on a road trip.

The school only learned about the drug use when Stoltz asked the school to reimburse a $200 hotel cleaning bill related to smoking in the room.

“Defendants presented legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons for not renewing Plaintiff’s temporary-part time employment contracts,” the judge wrote.

According to the settlement agreement, DCTC and Minnesota State agreed to the $100,000 payment in order to avoid additional litigation costs. They admitted no wrongdoing.

Stoltz will get just less than half of the settlement funds, with the remainder going to his lawyer, Dan Olson, with Bassford Remele.

Stoltz, who directs league operations for the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

A 2015 federal Title IX investigation into gender equity in DCTC sports remains active.