SPRINGFIELD, Mass. » Former University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle has withdrawn his federal lawsuit against his last employer, Westfield State University, and the state of Massachusetts, saying the legal fight’s cost was too great.
The Republican of Springfield reports that Dobelle and defendants filed a motion in federal court Thursday saying they agreed to dismiss the lawsuit, which blamed Westfield officials and the state for his departure from the Massachusetts university.
In motions filed in federal court this week, several of Dobelle’s lawyers sought to withdraw from the case, citing an "irreconcilable difference" and a failure to pay bills in their effort to drop him as a client.
Dobelle was Westfield president from January 2008 until his resignation in November 2013 amid questions about what some people called extravagant spending on travel, restaurant meals and other services. Dobelle defended the expenses.
Two lawsuits in state court remain pending. Dobelle is suing claiming breach of contract and demanding payment of his legal fees. The state attorney general’s office is suing to recover nearly $100,000 in public funds it alleges was misspent by Dobelle.
Dobelle’s troubles at Westfield are similar to his controversial tenure at UH from 2001 to 2004. UH regents unanimously voted to fire him in 2004 amid charges of lavish spending, dishonesty and wasting university resources.
Dobelle said he was a victim of a vendetta by then-Gov. Linda Lingle, and he fought back with lawyers. He threatened to sue UH for wrongful termination. The regents reached a settlement, rescinded his firing and Dobelle resigned.