Jesse Jackson Jr., others suing Hampton University for breach of contract

HAMPTON, Va. — Three lawsuits have been filed against Hampton University alleging breach of contract.

The lawsuits were filed by Jesse Jackson Jr., the son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, host of the popular radio show Inside the Issues, Dr. Wilmer Leon III, and Kelly Harvey-Viney, the daughter of HU’s former president Dr. William Harvey.

As shown in evidence provided to the Hampton Circuit Courts, Harvey-Viney signed a three-year contract working as the Legal Assistant to Vice President and General Counsel, Title IW Coordinator, and Director of the Center for Public Policy. Emails show that the contract was signed in April of 2022 and became effective July 1, 2022.

Harvey-Viney claims her working environment changed significantly under the leadership of HU’s new president, General Darryl Williams, adding that the secretary to Vice President and General Counsel Faye Hardy-Lucas would call her desk daily to ensure she was at work.

According to court documents, Harvey-Viney claims that in December she was given the ultimatum of teaching classes in HU’s School of Journalism or being terminated. She said she was also asked to vacate her office the next day.

Harvey-Viney is requesting a total of $388,448 in damages, the money she would have made had her three-year contract been fulfilled.

Jackson is also claiming breach of contract, claiming that both he and former president Dr. Harvey signed a contract stating that Jackson would work as a scholar in residence at HU for two years.

According to court documentation, Jackson then began moving to the area from Chicago on July 5. Eight days later, Jackson said he was told by HU Vice President Hardy-Lucas and Provost JoAnn Haysbert that the contract would be rescinded.

Jackson is requesting a total of $270,000 in damages. This is a combination of his previously promised salary and housing allowance.

As seen in an email from Provost Haysbert that Jackson presented as evidence to the courts, Hampton University said they would send him a check of $2,600 for money Jackson had already spent while moving. The email then goes on to say, “With this reimbursement, Hampton University considers this matter closed.”

The third person claiming breach of contract is Dr. Wilmer Leon III.

Dr. Leon alleges that he accepted a signed offer letter from Provost Haysbert to teach at the school. One week later, the radio show host said the offer was rejected.

Court documents claim there was a conversation surrounding Dr. Leon’s political beliefs during this time period.

Dr. Leon is requesting $80,000 in damages.

Hampton University sent the following statement to News 3 Friday, “Hampton University does not comment on pending litigation or personnel matters. However, Hampton University will continue to make decisions that are consistent with our values ​​and in the best interest of our faculty, staff and students.”

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