New London school board responds to Carter lawsuit, claims nondisclosure of criminal conviction

In this July 24, 2014, Day file photo, Terrence Carter talks with his attorney Bill McCoy after Carter exited the executive session of the New London Board of Education meeting.
In this July 24, 2014, Day file photo, Terrence Carter talks with his attorney Bill McCoy after Carter exited the executive session of the New London Board of Education meeting.

New London — One-time superintendent appointee Terrence P. Carter misrepresented himself as having a doctorate to coax the Board of Education into entering into a contract with him, the board’s lawyer has written in a response to the lawsuit brought by Carter.

Carter “made ... false representations to induce the (Board of Education) into entering into an employment contract,” board attorney Johanna G. Zelman of the Hartford law firm Rose Kallor LLP wrote in the response, filed Thursday.

The board’s response says Carter would have been fired in any case because he failed to admit he had once been convicted of a crime, the nature of which the document does not reveal.

The response argues that Carter is not entitled to any damages, as claimed in his suit, because “he would have been terminated for falsifying his employment application by stating that he had never been convicted of a crime even though he had.”

According to the board’s filing, the conviction was discovered only after the board rescinded Carter’s appointment.

“We categorically deny that allegation,” Uncasville attorney William McCoy, who represents Carter, said Friday.

A review of documents from federal and state courts conducted by The Day Friday could not independently verify the claim that Carter had previously been convicted of a crime.

Carter’s lawsuit, filed on his behalf in November by McCoy, alleges that the board and its president, Margaret Mary Curtin, breached an agreement that attorneys for both sides had negotiated.

Carter was unanimously appointed as superintendent in June and signed a contract for the position, but the board held off on ratifying the contract and ultimately rescinded its job offer to him amid revelations of plagiarism and academic misrepresentation.

Though he had not been conferred the degree, Carter referred to himself as “Terrence P. Carter, Ph.D.” in a letter written to the Board of Education in May and in an email sent in June.

And when he signed the proposed contract with the Board of Education, he signed as “Dr. Terrence Carter,” the response claims.

Carter also referred to himself as having a Ph.D. in his application for the New London superintendent position and submitted three letters of reference that held him up as “doctor.”

The board’s response also alleges that “there was fraud in the contract’s inducement” because Carter “plagiarized the letter of interest he submitted to the board as well as answers ... in the application he submitted to the board” and later claimed to have permission to plagiarize the letter.

In the suit, filed in November, Carter claims he suffered an economic loss of more than $15,000 when he resigned from his job in Chicago, put his home up for sale, relocated to New London, put his personal property in storage and purchased real estate in New London.

In his suit, Carter argues that Curtin instructed him to sign the contract as a “pro forma matter” and told him that “she ‘had the votes’ to approve the agreement and that she would handle any issues with the approval of his compensation.”

The board’s response denies all of the allegations leveled against Curtin and argues that she is entitled to immunity under both state law and the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997.

c.young@theday.com

Twitter: @ColinAYoung

In this July 24, 2014, Day file photo, Terrence Carter answers a few simple questions from the media as he exits the New London Board of Education meeting before the end of the executive session.
In this July 24, 2014, Day file photo, Terrence Carter answers a few simple questions from the media as he exits the New London Board of Education meeting before the end of the executive session.

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