Gov. Jim Justice fired the secretary of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs after an allegation of sexual harassment was filed against him.
Former secretary William “Bill” White said Thursday evening he was fired after a female employee lodged the allegation.
He said he was asked to resign, which he declined to do, and was then fired.
“How dare they accuse me of sexual harassment, after all I’ve done for women in this state,” White said.
By his account, he was in a gondola at Pipestem Resort State Park with a female employee who was trying to take a picture. He said he told her she could sit on his knee to get a better angle for the photograph. He said she declined, and then later filed the complaint against him.
He said she did not say anything about the incident in the gondola and he had previously written her two negative employee evaluations.
Brian Abraham, general counsel for Gov. Jim Justice, confirmed White’s account, although he said he did not know about the evaluations.
“That’s pretty close, there was a little bit more, but I didn’t know about the evaluations until after the fact,” he said.
White previously served on the state school board and served as CEO of The Management Development Group, a consulting firm.
He also worked for Mountain State University, where he was the founding dean of the School of Leadership and Professional Development. The for-profit school lost its accreditation in 2012 and paid out more than $11 million in a settlement after a lawsuit from former students.