Former Coast RTA CEO files suit, alleges race discrimination, retaliation

Myers Rollins filed a lawsuit against the Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority Tuesday and filed paperwork with the EEOC. (Source: WMBF News)
Myers Rollins filed a lawsuit against the Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority Tuesday and filed paperwork with the EEOC. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The former CEO of the Coast RTA has filed a suit against the Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority, and filed documents alleging race discrimination and retaliation by his former co-workers.

Myers Rollins filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning in the Court of Common Pleas for Horry County against Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority, alleging defamation, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, violation of the South Carolina Wage and Payment Act, interference with contractual relations, and equitable relief.

According to a news release from J. Lewis Cromer, Rollins' attorney, the suit is against Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority; Bernard Silverman, Chairman of the Board of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority; Gary Loftus and Katherine D'Angelo, Board Members of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority; and Julie Norton-Dew, Interim CEO and General Manager of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority.

The release states that Rollins has also filed initial documents with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging race discrimination and retaliation.

"What has happened to this poor man is a personal tragedy. He has been drowned in the backwash of political controversy. Politics is never a justification for the ruining of the personal life of any individual," said J. Lewis Cromer in the release. "My client has successfully passed a polygraph examination which clearly showed that he had no involvement of any kind in the allegedly forged letter from SCDOT. He has been falsely accused by those who knew better and it has harmed him severely. He shall see justice."

During an investigation back in April, WMBF News obtained a copy of a letter from the SCDOT, stating that a project started by Rollins to create more than 50 bus shelters around the county was terminated. Doug Frate with SCDOT confirmed the decision to terminate the project was based on a lack of sufficient activity, and a lack of response to their concerns.

The release continues to state that Rollins "turned around a dismal situation when he came to Coast RTA by avoiding financial collapse and in fact adding ten busses to the fleet."

In an interview with WMBF News in April, Rollins said he had turned the agency back from the brink of disaster during his tenure. He ran a budget surplus for the last seven years, leading the state in ridership growth year to year, getting the employees health insurance, holidays, and even into the state retirement plan.

Rollins' lawyers state that "until Loftus was placed on the board as a 'poison pill,' Rollins was extensively praised for his management both inside and outside of Coast RTA."

During the WMBF News investigation, Loftus made it clear that he is not a fan of Rollins. He said he watched the Coast RTA CEO mismanage project after project. Given the county is the single largest local contributor of tax dollars to the agency, more than a million dollars a year, Loftus said at the time that he was ready for a change.

According to the news release from J. Lewis Cromer, all of the progress made by Rollins and his board was made in spite of a total lack of support from Horry County Council and a small group of people dedicated to the destruction of both Rollins and Coast RTA.

Shortly after the WMBF News investigation, Rollins was fired from the Coast RTA on April 30 and replaced with interim CEO Julie Norton-Dew.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Coast RTA's Public Information Officer, Michelle Cantey, released the following statement:

Our Interim General Manager Julie Norton-Dew was officially served papers regarding the law suit in question at 3:11 p.m. We haven't had time to review the documents and plan to forward them to our legal firm this afternoon.

Without knowing the particulars of this lawsuit, Coast RTA does have liability insurance with the Insurance Reserve Fund in place to handle situations such as these.

Once we have conferred with our counsel, we will take their advisement in regards to further comments in relation to this matter.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we digest the information and discuss it with the parties listed as well as our counsel.

View the complete lawsuit filed by Rollins' legal counsel here: (Warning: 1.26MB PDF file)

Read and watch "Under the Bus: WMBF Investigates controversy at Coast RTA" here:

Read the details surrounding Rollins' firing in April here:

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.