Former CEO of Coast RTA files lawsuit

Myers Rollins, the former CEO and General Manager of Coast RTA, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority, the SC DOT and area officials, asking for $5 million, punitive damages to be determined by a jury and reinstatement to his position.

According to court documents the suit alleges defamation, a civil conspiracy, infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, violations of the South Carolina wage and payment act and interference with contractual relations.

It asks for $5 million to be paid to Rollins, as well as any punitive damages that would be assessed by a jury. It also asks that Rollins be reinstated to his position with full back pay and benefits.

The suit names the Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority; the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Bernard Silverman, Chairman of the Board of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority; Gary Loftus and Katherine D'Angelo, Board Members of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority; Mark Lazarus, the chair on the Horry County Council; Doug Frate, a SC DOT employee; Hart Baker, a former SC DOT employee; and Julie Norton-Dew, Interim CEO and General Manager of Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority.

Rollins has also filed initial documents with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging race discrimination and retaliation, according to a news release from the law firm of J Lewis Cromer.

According to a news release from Michelle Cantey, the Public Information Officer for Coast RTA, Norton-Dew was served papers for the lawsuit Tuesday around 3 p.m.

"We haven't had time to review the documents and plan to forward them to our legal firm," Cantey said. She went on to say that Coast RTA has liability insurance in place to handle cases like this.

She said they will talk to their legal team and follow their direction on making any further comments about the suit.

"In the meantime, we will be focusing on tonight's meeting with Horry County Council and third reading of its budget," she said. Horry County Council is meeting tonight and will decide if Coast RTA will receive more than $1 million in funding.

Rollins' attorney J. Lewis Cromer said in the release that what happened to Rollins is "a personal tragedy. He has been drowned in the backwash of political controversy. Politics is never a justification for the ruining of the personal life of any individual."

Cromer went on to say that Rollins "has been falsely accused by those who knew better and it has harmed him severely. He shall see justice."

He said Rollins "turned around a dismal situation when he came to Coast RTA by avoiding financial collapse and in fact adding ten busses to the fleet" and that "until Loftus was placed on the board as a "poison pill," Rollins was extensively praised for his management both inside and outside of Coast RTA."

You can read the entire suit that was filed here.

We will be posting updates to this story as more information becomes available.