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Lawsuit against DOT Secretary Foxx moves ahead after mediation fails

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made campaign stops for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Carrboro, Greensboro and Charlotte in October.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made campaign stops for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Carrboro, Greensboro and Charlotte in October. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

A lawsuit alleging U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx performed little to no work in a past job at defunct Charlotte bus maker DesignLine will continue to move forward after an effort to settle the case in mediation failed.

The mediation took place on Oct. 10, but no resolution was reached, according to documents filed this month in federal bankruptcy court in Charlotte.

In August 2015, the trustee liquidating DesignLine filed suit against Foxx seeking the return of the pay he received as the company’s deputy general counsel from 2009 to 2013. The complaint said company documents showed little to no work by the former Charlotte mayor who joined President Barack Obama’s cabinet in July 2013.

In a response filed in April, however, Foxx said records provided by trustee Elaine Rudisill contradicted those claims. These records showed “activities and actions” by Foxx as deputy general counsel, as well as interactions with the company’s outside law firms, according to the filing.

According to a scheduling order, the case will now move forward with the last day to file motions and other materials set for April 28, 2017. A trial could follow if the case is not resolved before then.

As part of DesignLine’s bankruptcy proceedings, Rudisill has been filing “adversarial proceedings” against various defendants, including Foxx, in an attempt to recover more money for the bankruptcy estate.

A group led by retired Air Force Gen. Buster Glosson and his son, Brad, bought DesignLine in 2006 and moved it to Charlotte from New Zealand. After struggling financially for years, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013, costing investors millions and leading to layoffs for a workforce that once reached 250.

In an appearance in Charlotte last month, Foxx hinted that his 12-year political career might be nearing an end with the change of administrations in January. He said he hopes to return to North Carolina but didn’t elaborate on his future career plans.

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