The founder of an Akron transitional housing program for drug-addicted men was sued Friday in Summit County Common Pleas Court, and documents filed as part of the suit confirm he has been fired as the organization's executive director by its board of trustees.

The lawsuit seeks the return of funds and equipment from Denny Wilson and his wife, Kara Wilson, who ran FI Community Housing until they were fired by the organization’s board of directors late last month. It shows that termination papers were served Tuesday.

Akron attorney Edward L. Gilbert said in a phone interview Friday that a hearing for an injunction to remove the Wilsons from FI facilities will be held at 10 a.m. Monday. Thus far, Gilbert said, the Wilsons have refused to leave the building.

“They obviously mishandled monies, they’re not paying rent and they have not properly communicated with the board,” Gilbert said. “When we go there, they refuse to leave.”

Wilson told the Beacon Journal on Thursday that a board member had told him of his firing, but he said he had not been presented evidence that the board ever took formal action against him.

Friday's court filing included a document containing the board's July 25 resolution to terminate the couple's employment, with a vote to approve Denny Wilson's firing that same day and Kara Wilson's firing July 28.

In the lawsuit, FI chairman Recarlton Buchanan alleges that the Wilsons “have written numerous checks from the accounts of FI to themselves without authorization and without proper accounting.”

In addition, the lawsuit alleges the Wilsons have not paid payroll taxes and owe the IRS more than $50,000, that they have removed client files, file cabinets, company phones, computer equipment, and have changed computer passwords.

Gilbert said “we want the court to order them to return our computers and our equipment" at the hearing Monday. With a court order, police can act to remove the Wilsons from the premises.

Wilson, a recovering addict, founded FI Community Housing about seven years ago to help men recovering from addiction sustain long-term sobriety.

In a phone interview Friday, Wilson maintained that the allegations contained in the lawsuit are false.

"It’s absolutely ridiculous from top to bottom," Wilson said. "We are going to answer those allegations."

Wilson said that on one point in the documents, a debt owed to the IRS, he has been in touch with the agency and is working to resolve the issue. Beyond that, he denies that he or his wife have improperly written checks to themselves.

Although he denies the allegations in the lawsuit, Wilson said he will obey the court.

"If a court order comes through," he said, "we will be compliant. We have been transparent and compliant."

Wilson and the organization have won accolades for their work and community involvement.

The Greater Akron Chamber in June honored FI Community Housing at its 2019 Business Awards program, giving the organization its “Best Origin Story” for the inspiration it has provided.

Wilson in 2016 was recognized with a BMe Leader Award given to “everyday” black men who are doing good in their communities by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Gilbert said FI Community Housing provides a valuable service to community members and can recover.

“We feel that we can certainly bounce back and do the good [FI] was organized to do,” he said. “It’s sad that we have to go through this process.”

 

Staff writer Jim Mackinnon contributed to this report. Alan Ashworth can be reached at 330-996-3859 or emailed at aashworth@thebeaconjournal.com.