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Big Brouhaha at Philly Convention Center

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - The longtime CFO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center claims the CEO "used the Convention Center's credit card and taxpayer funds as her personal piggybank," and fired her for objecting to the "continuing criminal and civil misconduct" and financial improprieties.

Former CFO Madeline Apollo sued the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and its President and CEO Ahmeenah Young, in Federal Court.

Apollo claims that Young has no college degree, yet oversees tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and oversaw the Center's $1 billion expansion - the largest publicly financed construction project in Pennsylvania history.

Apollo claims that Young has a history of financial problems, which "predictably metastasized into her abuses of the Convention Center as a political piggybank for her and her friends."

Apollo says those abuses include "criminally misusing the Convention Center's credit card to pay for political fundraising events held at the Convention Center"; "rigging millions of dollars of Convention Center business and contracts," including a coveted cleaning contract that was awarded to one of the highest bidders; "stealing food and other emoluments from the Convention Center"; secretly orchestrating pay raises for friends despite a pay freeze; and helping conceal "hundreds of thousands of dollars of questionable Convention Center legal bills that were diverted from the normal review and approval process."

Apollo says she was summarily fired in retaliation for complaining about the misconduct, without the pre- and post-termination hearings to which she is contractually entitled.

She seeks damages for breach of contract, due process violations, conspiracy, civil rights violations and retaliation.

A spokeswoman for the Authority declined to comment.

Apollo is represented by John Elliott with Elliott, Greenleaf & Siedzikowski, of Blue Bell, Pa.

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