LAS VEGAS (CN) - Two attorneys and a former State Bar investigator say the executive director of the Nevada State Bar launched a "Machiavellian plan" to oust employees in a "deranged effort to divert attention from her own incompetence," an "ongoing and systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction."
Plaintiffs Patrice Eichman and Georgia Taylor, both attorneys who worked for the Bar, and Tiffany Breinig, a Bar admissions investigator, sued The State Bar of Nevada and its Executive Director Kimberly Farmer, in Clark County Court.
They claim that in Farmer's 2-year "reign of terror" and "depravities," she has fired or forced the resignations of at least 15 employees, "the majority of whom were high-level employees with many years of service to the bar" in an attempt to keep control of the office and its budget, and to hide her "inadequacies" from the Board of Directors.
Taylor was the Bar's Clients' Security Fund/Fee Dispute Coordinator, and Eichman the Director of Admissions, until they were "forced to resign" (Eichman) and "forced ... into early retirement" (Taylor).
Taylor says she was forced to resign after 15 years of service because of Farmer's "abusive, insulting and harassing behavior" that began immediately after Farmer's hiring in 2007, "as a result of cronyism."
Taylor says Farmer wanted her out because Farmer "lacked experience with client security funds and fee disputes," and that her "lack of competence regarding these departments was most glaring when compared to Taylor's skills."
She says she was drummed out for advocating for changes in her departments to better protect the public interest by reducing Farmer's control over the departments, and to bring her management under scrutiny.
She says Farmer wrote "negative comments" about her in her personnel file for suggesting changes, then destroyed her copy of an ABA report that recommended transparency, in an attempt to prevent her from "being able to initiate any action" in response to the report's recommendations.
Farmer "opposed the recommendations" because "it would reduce her control over the Bar and its finances and bring scrutiny on her past management of the Clients' Security Fund," according to the complaint.
Taylor says Farmer screamed at her, berated, insulted, belittled, undermined and humiliated her and other employees.
Eichman says she was forced to retire after speaking with six members of the Board of Bar Examiners and preparing a memo detailing Farmer's "abusive behaviors and actions."
Eichman adds that the Board of Bar Examiners was "indifferent, and never took any action to investigate or prevent further abusive behavior."
Eichman says that in a "campaign to destroy" her, Farmer undermined her with her staff, "baselessly" berated her work performance, usurped her authority, changed Bar rules, criticized her decision to hire qualified candidates, screamed at her, and in general was "creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation."
Eichman says Farmer told her: "We both know you are not going to be here long."
Breinig, "an investigator who reported directly to Eichman ... occupied a front-row seat from which she witnessed Farmer terrorize Eichman, before herself becoming a victim of Farmer's tirades and attacks," the complaint states.
Breinig says Farmer made "unreasonable demands," requesting she provide contact information and price quotes for the venue of the previous years' Bar exams, though Eichman "had already informed Farmer that the information was no longer available."
Breinig says Farmer then burst into her office and slammed the door, and refused to allow Eichman to be present for a meeting. She says when she tried to leave the office, Framer jumped in front of her, blocking her exit.
Breinig says she complained, but that one member of the board gave her "this breathtaking advice: 'that her only option was to resign because the Bar and the Board of Governors would not take any remedial action to provide a safe work environment."
Once she drove out the most qualified and experienced employees, Farmer selected "lackeys who would not recognize Ms. Farmer's inadequacies or question her judgment," the complaint states, including appointing her secretary as Continuing Education Director.
The plaintiffs say Farmer "intentionally left some positions vacant in order to manipulate her budget data at the expense of the State Bar's member services and programming."
They claim that Farmer used the surplus from axed positions to "fund an extensive redecoration and landscaping plan during the same year that the Bar was unable to afford cost of living raises for its employees."
And they accuse the Board of Governors of turning a blind eye to the situation, and covering up for Farmer. They claim the board also ignored and covered up similar accusations of intimidation brought against its former executive director, Allen Kimbrough.
Plaintiffs seek damages for breach of contract, negligent hiring, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
They are represented by Dennis Kennedy with Bailey Kennedy.
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