AUGUSTA — Good Will-Hinckley will pay House Speaker Mark Eves $30,000 to end its employment agreement with the Democratic leader.

The payment represents a three-month severance for Eves, who had been hired to become the president of Good Will-Hinckley. The private nonprofit withdrew its job offer last week after Gov. Paul LePage threatened to withhold $530,000 in annual state funding for Good Will-Hinckley’s charter school, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, unless the school’s board ended its employment agreement with Eves.

LePage has denied that he blackmailed the board, but acknowledged Monday that he threatened to pull the annual funding because he didn’t believe Eves, who has opposed charter school legislation, was the right person to lead the nonprofit and its charter school.

Eves would have earned $120,000 a year as president of the entire institution. He is weighing a civil lawsuit against LePage, whom he has accused of blackmailing Good Will-Hinckley into severing his contract.

David Webbert, the employment attorney hired by Eves, said Tuesday that his client has not yet received the severance payment. Webbert said the employment agreement allowed Good Will-Hinckley to terminate the contract without cause with 60 days’ notice and then pay him one month of severance, or $10,000.

Webbert said the school unilaterally exercised that part of the contract but didn’t keep Eves in the job for 60 days. Therefore, under the agreement terms, Eves will be put on the payroll beginning Wednesday and remain there for at least 60 days.

The school will then pay him a lump sum for the one-month severance, or leave him on the payroll for another month, with either scenario resulting in a $30,000 payout.

Webbert argued that the decision to terminate Eves without cause and keep him on the payroll for 60 days is further proof that the school was blackmailed by LePage.

“Otherwise, there is no reasonable or logical explanation for why the school acted this way,” he said.

Webbert said the employment agreement was an “unusually bad deal” for Eves, despite assertions to the contrary Tuesday by Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party. Webbert said most superintendents and principals at public schools receive a one- or two-year contract that cannot be terminated without cause.


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