Madison School District’s former spokesperson gets $40k payout after retiring amid controversy

The agreement says LeMonds voluntarily retired on July 17, 2023.
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 11:25 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2023 at 5:56 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Metropolitan School District, a public institution funded by taxpayer dollars, paid out $40,000 plus unused sick leave to the former spokesperson, Tim LeMonds, this according to open records. LeMonds retired from the district back in July following an internal investigation into a complaint alleging LeMonds harassed and bullied former and current MMSD employees.

A district document titled “SEPARATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN TIMOTHY LEMONDS AND THE MADISON METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT” lays out the agreement made between the two when LeMonds retired back in July. LeMonds had been with the district since 2019.

The agreement says LeMonds voluntarily retired on July 17, 2023. “The employee will retire with all benefits that he is entitled to under the relevant portions of the MMSD Employee Handbook. The document goes on to say LeMonds received one lump sum payment of $40,000. In the mutual non-disparagement section, the district promises to “not make any statements or otherwise take any action intended or that may reasonably be expected to impair the goodwill, reputation, or good name” of LeMonds.

LeMonds has been gone from the district since the middle of July when he signed the document to retire. The announcement of LeMonds’ retirement came as he was on leave amidst an ongoing investigation, which the district said was concluded without explaining what the investigation revealed. NBC15 Investigates confirmed LeMonds’ employment status with the district’s human resources team last month, and we have requested the findings of that investigation from the district and have yet to receive them.

A Dane Co. judge rules public records Tim LeMonds attempted to block from being released will...
A Dane Co. judge rules public records Tim LeMonds attempted to block from being released will be released to NBC15.(WMTV)

In court Thursday, May 25, Judge Rhonda Lanford ultimately ruled in favor of MMSD and NBC15 as Intervenors in a lawsuit over public records, ruling that the school district, by law, had to release the records in full to NBC15. The court documents showed LeMonds was trying to block the release of a cover page email and a 14-page complaint filled with personal grievances and accusations against him by several current and former MMSD employees.

The complaint against LeMonds alleges instances of “emotional abuse, bullying, unequal pay, and harassment on the basis of gender, and race or ethnicity” against current and former district employees. The complaint also details how LeMonds allegedly interacted with and spoke about female journalists, including NBC15′s Elizabeth Wadas. According to the complaint, LeMonds allegedly described Wadas in a Zoom meeting as “Quickly becoming the sleaziest journalist in Madison…What a pig of a journalist” in response to a story Wadas was working on that was critical of a high school football coach.

LeMonds has continually denied these claims, saying they were without merit.

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