Retirees Association

Wright State denies claims in $4.5M lawsuit

Ron Wine

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Wright State University attorneys have responded to a pair of lawsuits brought by former consultant Ron Wine seeking $4.5 million that Wine claims he is owed by the school and its research arm for an informal deal he had with WSU administrators.

Attorneys for Wright State Applied Research Corporation filed a motion to dismiss the case in Greene County Common Pleas Court late Tuesday. That suit was brought in county court because WSARC is a separate nonprofit affiliated with the school.

That followed a 12-page response filed Monday by attorneys for the school itself, which Wine sued in a state court that handles claims against state agencies and universities.

WSU hired the Cincinnati-based law firm Dinsmore & Shohl to represent them in the state case. The firm’s response denies, item by item, Wine’s assertions.

This includes claims that Ron Wine Consulting Group secured $134 million in new contract revenue for WSU; WSU President David Hopkins agreed to pay Wine a 5-percent performance-based bonus for money he brought into WSU; and that Hopkins met with Wine on multiple occasions from February to June 2016, acknowledging Wine was owed money.

The response denies that Wright State owes Wine $4.5 million for numerous reasons, including that the claims “are barred by illegal and/or indefinite contract terms,” and “the contract alleged by (Wine) is void as against public policy.”

Wine’s firm worked as a strategic consultant for WSU for several years until his contract was suspended then terminated amid controversy after he was paid $2 million.

Wine spoke about the contract in an interview with the I-Team in January, in which he said that the school didn’t owe him any money and that the 5 percent performance-based pay that is the basis for his lawsuit wasn’t part of any written contract. Instead, he called it a “general understanding” between himself and Hopkins and other WSU administrators.

University officials have said Wine proposed an agreement by which he received 5 percent of the work and revenue he brought into the university, but it was never put in writing and Hopkins had no off-the-books deal with Wine.

Wright State trustees met Tuesday in a closed-door executive session with their attorneys, including Dinsmore & Shohl, and received an update on this and other matters, including an ongoing federal investigation of possible violations of immigration law by WSU administrators.

Wright State officials declined to comment after the meeting, saying it is their policy to not talk about pending litigation.