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Settlement reached in former Woodbury University employee case

Records: Case involving former university employee was dismissed.

February 05, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Retiring Woodbury University President Kenneth Nielsen and his wife Rose at The Jonathan Club in June 2012. Rose Nielsen claimed she was fired in September 2012 after reporting alleged mistreatment of other university employees by the wife of Luis Calingo, the colleges then newly named president. The case was recently dismissed.
Retiring Woodbury University President Kenneth Nielsen… (File Photo )

A case involving a former Woodbury University employee who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the college, alleging she was fired without cause, was recently dismissed, according to court records.

La Cañada Flintridge resident Rose Nielsen, who is also the wife of Kenneth Nielsen, Woodbury University’s former president, claimed she was fired in September 2012 after reporting alleged mistreatment of other university employees by the wife of Luis Calingo, the college’s then newly named president.

Reached by phone on Monday, both Rose Nielsen and an attorney representing Woodbury University in the case — Citadelle Priagula — declined to comment on details about the settlement that was reached out of court, both citing confidentiality agreements.

Rose Nielsen filed a complaint in December 2012 alleging she was fired from her role as senior director of development not long after encountering an emotional university maintenance employee who was in tears because he had allegedly been “threatened with termination” by Calingo’s wife, Gemeline.

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She took the incident to the university's head of maintenance employees sometime around late August 2012, “who indicated that he, too, had suffered a similar incident at the hands of Mrs. Calingo,” according to the complaint.

By early September, when Rose Nielsen was terminated, she asked to meet with Luis Calingo, but he declined a meeting, according to the complaint.

Rose Nielsen was initially hired by the university as a development officer in 2000, earning $30,000 after putting in four years of volunteer service that began in 1996, the year her husband was hired as Woodbury’s president.

A few years after she was hired, she began reporting to Robert Kummer, chairman of the university’s board of trustees, instead of the college’s advancement office.

By October 2005, the board of trustees promoted Rose Nielsen to director of development and she was earning $65,140 annually. Ultimately, she went on to earn $136,000 a year, including benefits, as senior director of development for the college, according to court records.

In her complaint, she alleged that she was lauded by Kummer for successfully securing nearly $400,000 during a scholarship fund-raising campaign.

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