Former chairman sues Cherry Blossom Festival for $2M over firing

The Cherry Blossom Festival's former chairman is asking a court to award him more than $2 million, arguing that the festival's board slandered him, violated his contract and fired him.

Jake Ferro filed the lawsuit March 3 against the festival and three members of its executive board.

Ferro headed the festival from October 2012 through September 2016.

During that time, his suit claims, the festival "went from the brink of insolvency to financial stability."

He also made major decisions during that time, he said, such as ending the annual street party.

Festival founder Carolyn Crayton disagreed with several of Ferro's decisions, he claims, and "resented (him) for not doing as she bid.

His suit says his problems with the board came to a head last summer, over city renovations at Central City Park.

Ferro claims that board member William Fickling III urged him to "threaten the mayor with moving the CBF to a location other than Central City Park" and said "the only way to halt the construction was to threaten to move...."

His lawsuit says Ferro never threatened the mayor.

But in September, board member Stacy Ingram told the Telegraph that they asked for Ferro's resignation because he'd threatened the mayor with moving the festival.

Since being let go, Ferro's suit says, he's been "socially shunned by the business and social communities."

Ferro's lawsuit asks that he be reinstated and that the board retract their statements about his removal.

Ingram said Wednesday that the festival and its board members would have no comment on the lawsuit.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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