A whistleblower lawsuit filed by Christine Balko, former CEO of the $145 million Ukrainian National FCU, is headed to mediation. According to June 10 documents filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Balko and the New York-based credit union were referred to the court-annexed mediation program by Judge Andrew J. Peck. However, the mediation will have no effect upon any scheduling order issued by the court without leave of the court.
Balko filed the suit Feb. 27, claiming the credit union’s board retaliated against her after she reported to the NCUA board election bylaw and protocol violations, the purchase of prohibited investments and the misappropriation of funds by a branch manager. She claimed the retaliation caused her to suffer a heart attack and default on her mortgage loan.
On May 31, the credit union filed its answer to Balko’s claims, denying her discrimination claims but admitting to NCUA supervisory action and a forensic audit at a branch that revealed unauthorized transactions had been performed.
The credit union also presented several defenses.I n addition to typical claims of a lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to make a claim upon which relief can be granted, attorney Philip K. Davidoff also said the credit union was unaware Balko made complaints to the NCUA, and thus could not have retaliated against her. Davidoff also said in court documents the credit union’s decision to terminate Balko was based upon legitimate, non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory business reasons.
“Plaintiff’s claims are barred because even if any adverse employment actions by UNFCU toward Plaintiff were motivated in part by Plaintiff’s alleged reports of illegal activity, which they were not, UNFCU would have made the same employment decisions regardless of such claims,” the legal answer said.