Former Auburn athletics employee sues over firing

Former Auburn athletics employee sues over firing

AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - A former Auburn athletics employee filed a suit Wednesday claiming he was wrongfully terminated after raising questions about football ticket discrepancies.

The lawsuit names Auburn University, the board of trustees, and several university and athletic department officials, including Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, as defendants.

Matthew Davis was employed as the director of sales for Auburn's Tigers Unlimited program. He was terminated in February.

The lawsuit claims Davis was retaliated against after speaking up about alleged discrepancies in ticket sales. He also alleges his rights under the State Whistleblower Act were violated.

According to the lawsuit, Davis discovered in the summer of 2014 at least 3,500 seats in the Tigers Unlimited donor area at Jordan-Hare Stadium were being sold at face value and not being utilized for the Tigers Unlimited program. Tigers Unlimited members make contributions at varying levels for membership benefits.

According to the lawsuit, Davis also reported to an athletic department official a conversation a salesperson had with a Tigers Unlimited customer. The potential customer reportedly told the salesperson he didn't want to pay for Tigers Unlimited because he was already getting tickets in the same area as Tigers Unlimited members without paying the premium. The customer reportedly said he was getting them from an athletic department employee in charge of parking at the athletic complex.

During his audit, Davis allegedly found hundreds of other seats that were incorrectly marked for a lesser contribution level.

According to the suit, he suggested an accounting firm audit the Tigers Unlimited per seat contributions.

The suit alleges Davis reported his findings to athletics department officials but was told to "keep his head down and mouth shut" and forget about the tickets.

In an email Thursday, Auburn University said allegations about athletics tickets have been reviewed by internal and external auditors, and the university is "confident that athletic tickets sales have been managed in a fair and transparent manner."

The suit alleges after Davis reported the ticket findings, the athletic department and university started investigating him in connection to allegations of an employee providing athlete information used in gambling. The lawsuit claims there is no evidence Davis was involved in the alleged gambling conspiracy.
Davis' communications with a former athletic department consultant were also called into question.

Davis was put on leave in September 2014. An attorney contacted the university on Davis' behalf and they eventually received a later confirming there was an investigation in Davis, but no evidence was found to support the accusations.

Davis is asking for his position back, for back-pay, damages, attorney's fees and other expenses.

Copyright 2015 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.