O'Dell Receives Settlement For Lawsuit
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

(CENTREVILLE) – A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the former Executive Director of a St. Joseph County organization.

Attorney Ross E. Chapman says in a media release that Elizabeth O'Dell, the former Executive Director of Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services received $205,000 through a mediation session. That was the amount she was asking for, which comes out to one year's salary and to cover her legal expenses.

O'Dell filed the lawsuit in November 2017 against the CMH Board, County, the County Commission, former Commission Chairman and current Commissioner Allen Balog and former County Administrator Pat Yoder. Chapman says O'Dell was claiming in those lawsuits wrongful interference with her employment contract; breach of contract; unjust interference with her business relationship with the CMH; and that her whistle blower rights were violated.

A Calhoun County judge threw out those all of the lawsuits, except for the one against the CMH Board.

In April 2017, the CMH Board placed O'Dell on paid administrative leave, and also ordered a full audit to be done of the agency.

On August 29, 2017, the CMH Board voted to remove O'Dell as CMH Executive Director. They cited four reasons that included O'Dell directing legal council to perform legal work without the Board's knowledge; holding and participating in meetings that violated the Open Meetings Act; directing the CMH Chief Financial Officer to ignore the ability to pay rules under the Mental Health Code and waiving the attorney-client privilege without Board authorization by sending draft documents prepared by legal council to third parties.

O'Dell had been an employee of CMH for 20 years and was named Executive Director in 2006.