Commissioner White Dropped from Gibbs’ Lawsuit

Escambia County Commissioner Kevin White has been removed from a lawsuit that still lists two other commissioners. In the suit, Forrest Gibbs claims the commissioners improperly removed him from his job.

White said today he did not know why he had been dropped from the lawsuit.

“Why’d they drop me?” he said. “I guess they didn’t have enough to go after me.”

In December of 2011, Gibbs filed suit against White, as well as commissioners Grover Robinson and Marie Young. The suit followed a commission discussion regarding Gibbs’ employment as director of the Escambia County Equestrian Center.

“I think it should be pretty clear for the court system to see what happened,” Robinson said shortly after the suit was filed.

Following a discussion by the commission about whether or not Commissioner Wilson Robertson—a family friend of Gibbs—had overstepped ethical bound when pushing for Gibbs to get the equestrian center job, County Administrator Randy Oliver told the board he understood the jest of the conversation and proceeded to fire Gibbs and re-advertise the position.

Gibbs is suing for about $15,000. Escambia County, as well as commissioners Robertson and Gene Valentino, were never listed in the lawsuit. Valentino was absent during the commission discussion regarding Gibbs employment.

Gregory Smith, the attorney representing Gibbs, declined to discuss the rationale behind dropping White from the suit in August. He said he did not discuss ongoing cases with the media.

“I think it’s bad form,” Smith said. “I, frankly, do my talking inside the courtroom and in the documents I file with the court.”

Escambia County Attorney Alison Rogers—who is not involved in the case—said that as she understood it, “the position the plaintiff is taking is that the circumstances are different for the three of them” and that White’s circumstances apparently don’t merit their attention.