Wheeling U Names New President, Hit With Lawsuit

October 8, 2019

Wheeling University named its board chair as its new president Monday, days after its former president filed a lawsuit claiming he was misled about the university’s finances before he accepted the job.

The university announced Ginny Favede as its 13th president. She has been chair of the Board of Trustees since July and has been on its board for 10 months. Favede is leaving her job as executive director of the Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council.

Favede was announced as the university’s new president shortly after its former president, Michael Mihalyo, filed a civil complaint Friday in Ohio County Circuit Court. Mihalyo was placed on administrative leave in August along with Wheeling University’s senior vice president.

Mihalyo’s lawsuit -- against the university and several other related parties -- claims the university misled him about its finances before he accepted the position of president, according to MetroNews. He is seeking compensation for permanent physical injuries, past and future pain, suffering, mental anguish, past and future humiliation, embarrassment, indignity and shame, economic damages, diminished earning capacity, and future lost wages and attorney fees, The Intelligencer reported.

The lawsuit alleges Mihalyo was “unable to determine the true liquidity of the university as he received conflicting financial reports almost daily from university officials,” according to The Intelligencer. It says he submitted budgets through this summer showing the university would be insolvent by December, days before he was to discuss the university’s reauthorization with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. He was then banned from campus “as retaliation for plaintiff’s investigation and self-reporting,” the suit alleges.

Mihalyo’s lawsuit also claims the university began this academic year knowing it didn’t have enough funding to complete the year, according to The Intelligencer.

Wheeling University does not comment on personnel matters, a spokeswoman told The Intelligencer. A spokesman for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which is named in the suit and controls the university, declined to comment to the publication on pending litigation.

Wheeling University is the former Wheeling Jesuit University. It has gone through deep cuts and significant reorganizations since declaring financial exigency this spring.

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