Former Head Coach of the Condors Swim Club of Clarkstown Donald Wagner filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in White Plains against the Condors, founder Robert Carlucci and current president Joseph Patrick (JP) Carlucci. Wagner’s lawsuit filed on April 16 states it was filed in connection with “Defendants’ failure to properly compensate Plaintiff, termination of his employment with Condors Swim Club and defamatory statements made about Plaintiff following the termination of his employment.”
Wagner, a New City resident, was employed as head coach for the Condors from July 15, 2008 through April 13, 2012. Robert Carlucci started the Condors and according to the lawsuit, served as president until the summer of 2008 when his son, James Patrick (JP), who also serves as a coach, took over as president.
Robert Carlucci said he had no comment on the lawsuit since it was pending.
As head coach, Wagner was responsible for coaching and training swimmers. The Condors is a not for profit organization located at 115 North Main Street in New City.
“He was terminated and he believes he was terminated in violation of the agreement,” said Wagner’s Attorney Donald Sapir, Sapir & Frumkin LLP of White Plains.
Wagner’s lawsuit claims a four-year agreement signed on August 1, 2008 provided a competitive bonus for reaching benchmarks such as swimmers qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials, USA Swimming Long Course Senior Nationals and Senior Metropolitan Championship. Wagner claims he met goals in 2011 and 2012 but did not receive any bonus payments.
The complaint also states Wagner “was misclassified as an exempt employee and deprived of overtime wages during his employment with the as head coach.” It claims he “regularly worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.” Additionally, Wagner claims $1,000 was unlawfully deducted from his regular wages without his authorization.
According to the document, Wagner went to the Condors’ office on Sunday, April 8 to retrieve his emails and computer files he maintained in an office used by him, other coaches and club employees. The following day, he complained to the Carluccis about their failure to pay him overtime, misclassification of him as an exempt employee and other grievances. On Friday, April 13, Wagner was notified his employment was being terminated because on April 8 he had copied certain computer files belonging to the Condors and personal and business files that were Bob Carlucci’s personal property and removed them from the office. Wagner denies he did anything in violation of the agreement.
Wagner’s complaint also alleges Bob Carlucci, who is a member of the Clarkstown Board of Education, defamed him by telling the Clarkstown School District superintendent and at least one other school board member that the coach had copied confidential and attorney-client privileged documents and breached the district’s security.
Wagner’s attorney, Donald Sapir, said his client tried to work out an agreement with the Condors but was unable to and decided to pursue it legally.
Wagner is seeking compensation for unpaid hours in excess of 40 hours weekly at one and one half times his regular rate of pay, the unpaid bonuses and other costs and damages. It also claims he began working for the Condors on July 15, 2008 and was not paid for the period of July 15 through July 31, 2008. The lawsuit does not specify an amount of money requested.
Additionally, Wagner wants to have a restrictive covenant declared unenforceable. The covenant prevents him from coaching swimming for two years within a 50-mile radius of the Condors’ office. That area includes Rockland, Orange, Bronx, Queens, New York, Brooklyn, Nassau, Putnam and Westchester counties and Bergen County, NJ.
“We are alleging that it is an unenforceable restrictive covenant,” said Sapir.
Sapir anticipates an answer to the lawsuit will be forthcoming within the next 30 days. He said the loss of Wagner as their coach will be disruptive for the swimmers particularly those who are going to compete in the Olympic trials within the next 60 days.
Previously, Wagner coached the Mt. Lebanon, PA high school swim team and at the Mt. Lebanon Aqua Club from 2003 to 2008. Prior to that he was the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s and women’s swim teams from 1999 to 2003 and head coach of the Texas A&M women’s swim team from 1995 to 1999.