Court papers filed in the Northern District of Indiana on behalf of onetime Community Link FCU CEO James R. Countryman make a stark claim: Countryman’s dismissal was a retaliatory firing, in defiance of NCUA regulation and federal law.
Countryman’s paperwork alleges a web of conflicts of interest on the part of members of the board of Community Link, a Huntington, Ind.-based credit union with assets under $20 million.
The suit in federal court in particular claims that not long after informing Community Link’s board that he intended to fully and truthfully respond to NCUA inquiries, Countryman was abruptly terminated.
Reached by telephone for comment, Countryman indicated he would have nothing to say about the specifics of the case. He deferred comment to his legal counsel.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Wrage, a partner in Indiana law firm Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman, had not responded to an interview request by deadline.
Community Link FCU also had not responded.
NCUA, for its part, indicated it would have no comment on the Countryman suit. More broadly, however, NCUA did note that “there is a provision in the Federal Credit Union Act, 12 U.S.C. 1790b(a)(1) that prohibits an insured credit union from discriminating, discharging etc., an employee for providing information to NCUA regarding violations of regulations or laws by credit union officials,” according to David Small, NCUA’s assistant director, Public Affairs.
Small added that NCUA does not keep records of such filings because they are civil matters, filed without NCUA approval.