Fired MOCA director files federal complaint against North Miami for unlawful termination
Babacar M'Bow accused of sexually harassing employee
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – The former director of North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art has filed a federal complaint against the city of North Miami for unlawful termination, his attorney told Local 10 News on Wednesday.
The lawsuit comes months after Babacar M'Bow was fired from his position after city officials found numerous credible allegations about sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.
"Based on the finding of the city's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against you, as well as your lack of appropriate supervision over your subordinate employees, I lack confidence in your ability to continue to serve as a spokesperson and chief advocate for the museum," interim city manager Arthur Sorey III said in a letter sent to M'Bow in December.
M'Bow's attorney, Bridgette Thornton, said city officials "irreparably tarnished his reputation on the basis of false and scandalous allegations."
According to an internal report, the museum's outreach and programs manager, Tiffany Madera, filed a complaint against M'Bow, as well as assistant director Alan Waufle, on Dec. 10.
M'Bow was immediately placed on paid administrative leave after the allegations and Waufle served a three-day suspension after a complaint alleging inappropriate gender language was filed against him.
The museum's assistant director for education and international programs was also fired.
According to the report, Madera claimed that M'Bow touched her inappropriately and said on more occasion that the "staff needs to get laid," and that he could tell that Madera "gets (expletive)," because she is the "only happy person."
Madera told city officials that M'Bow apologized to her after she told him that his comments made her uncomfortable and promised that it wouldn't happen again.
Madera also said in the complaint that M'Bow made veiled threats throughout August about "not firing people."
According to the report, M'Bow also suggested to Waufle that he take a vendor "out on the town and show her a good time," to which Waufle replied, "She's a skanky (expletive)."
Madera said she told Waufle that she was uncomfortable by the discussion going on in front of her and claimed that M’Bow interrupted her, saying, "That is feminist rhetoric."
After numerous interviews with staff, city officials found that allegations of sexual harassment and explicit sexual language were substantiated. Allegations of inappropriate touching and systemic vague and veiled repudiation or retaliation were found to be unsubstantiated.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare that M'Bow's termination was unlawful and without legal effect, that he is entitled to a hearing before the city's Personnel Board regarding his employment termination and seeks "damages, attorney's fees and costs" and "such further relief as the court deems appropriate."
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