Trustees at the Contra Costa Community College District have approved settlement agreements worth more than $1.5 million combined with two of their highest-ranking administrators who filed individual discrimination claims and a joint lawsuit alleging other wrongdoing against the district.
Governing Board President Judy Walters publicly reported three actions by the board in closed session at its March 9 meeting related to lawsuits filed against the district by executive vice chancellor administrative services and former interim chancellor Eugene "Gene" Huff, alongside associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer Diogenes "Dio" Shipp and former associate vice chancellor and chief financial officer Jonah Nicholas.
The moves consisted of unanimous votes on a settlement agreement with Huff, which paid out $570,000 in exchange for waiving all claims against the district and agreeing to drop the joint civil lawsuit filed against the district alleging discrimination, as well as on agreeing pay attorneys' fees in order to settle a suit alleging public records act violations.
In addition, the board voted 3-2 on a $950,000 payout to Shipp, who like Huff has been on paid administrative leave amid the claims against the district. Walters, along with trustees Rebecca Barrett and Andy Li, voted in favor of the Shipp settlement, while Trustee Fernando Sandoval voted against it and Trustee John Marquez abstained.
The settlement agreements with Huff and Shipp see each man remain on paid leave through the end of June, and then formally resign from his position thereafter.
The deals include no admission of liability or wrongdoing on the part of the district as it relates to any and all allegations lodged by Huff and Shipp.
Attorneys for Shipp and Huff did not respond to requests for comment as of Thursday afternoon.
Huff has been on paid administrative leave as executive vice chancellor since Aug. 12, 2021, after serving as interim chancellor prior to the November 2020 hiring of Bryan Reece, who resigned as chancellor amid controversy last month. Shipp has been on paid administrative leave since June 2021.
While Huff and Shipp both dismiss their respective claims in the discrimination case, district spokesman Timothy Leong said that the district had not yet reached a settlement with Nicholas, the third petitioner in the joint lawsuit. Nicholas left the district in 2020 for a position at the Chabot-Las-Positas Community College District.
However, the district did receive approval from all three in a public records lawsuit, which sees $59,000 in attorneys fees paid in exchange for the plaintiffs dropping the case.