The Washington area United Way said yesterday that it has paid former chief executive Norman O. Taylor $114,000 to settle a dispute over whether his severance agreement was violated when the organization stopped paying him last summer.
Taylor served as chief executive from February 2001 until September 2002, when he resigned under pressure from major donors and the group's board of directors. At the time, the United Way signed an agreement to continue paying his $225,000-a-year salary for the rest of his three-year contract because Taylor's departure was "voluntary."
But the United Way of the National Capital Area stopped paying Taylor last July after an independent audit commissioned by the charity questioned whether Taylor should have received $73,000 for annual vacation that he said he hadn't used and challenged $1,046 in charges Taylor made on United Way credit cards. Taylor contends that both were justified.
United Way chief executive Charles W. Anderson said yesterday that the organization settled despite the allegations in the audit. If the dispute had gone to court, Anderson said, "the cost to the organization would have been much more. It was just deemed in [our] best interest to put this behind us."
Under the severance agreement, Taylor was still owed $135,000 in salary, said United Way attorney Philip Harvey. Under the organization's bylaws at the time, the charity also could have been liable for Taylor's legal fees because Taylor was not charged with any criminal wrongdoing at the United Way.
Taylor's attorney, James Cole, said yesterday that Taylor didn't get all he was owed but that "frankly, he was happy to let the United Way keep some of it to get back on its feet."
Taylor did not return a message left at his house yesterday.
The settlement is the latest effort by the United Way to put a debilitating financial scandal behind it. Last month, Taylor's predecessor, Oral Suer, was sentenced to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding the charity of almost $500,000.
Suer also was ordered to pay $497,000 in restitution. So far, the charity says, he has repaid $94,000.