Yosef Chaim Kalinko
Editor’s note: An updated version of this story is available here.
Seattle University Provost Shane Martin is a defendant, along with Loyola Marymount University (LMU), in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that while he was at LMU, he fired a former assistant when she would not participate in a “scheme” to misuse university funds.
Many in the Seattle U community did not find out about this lawsuit involving Martin until The Seattle Times ran an article Wednesday morning. At the time of this article’s publication, Seattle U had not officially notified faculty, staff, or students of the lawsuit.
Provost Shane Martin began working at Seattle University in June of 2018.
In a copy of the lawsuit that The Spectator obtained from The Los Angeles Times, the complaint alleged that during Martin’s time at LMU he was “intentionally breaking LMU policies, Federal and State law to further his personal interests and ensuring he did not get caught.”
The alleged “personal interests” include, but are not limited to, “extravagant meals, first-class flights, porn, financial favors to Martin’s personal friends, and late-night dates with LMU funds. Even more egregious, Martin threatened the plaintiff’s employment if she did not participate in assisting with his fraudulent schemes.”
Martin spent 25 years at LMU. He was named Dean of the School of Education in 2005 and Dean of Graduate Studies in 2012.
University President Father Stephen V. Sundborg S.J., wrote a statement to The Spectator late Wednesday afternoon regarding the lawsuit, which is presented below in its entirety.
“I have great respect for Shane Martin and the utmost confidence in his leadership as Provost,” Sundborg wrote. “The lawsuit at Loyola Marymount University should not distract from the important work that we are doing at Seattle University.”
Sundborg’s statement was in response to the following questions: Do you, as the President of Seattle University, condemn these acts, is Seattle U planning to conduct an internal investigation of Dr. Martin’s use of funds since he has arrived at Seattle U, and will Dr. Martin remain at Seattle U?
The lawsuit, filed March 4, further claimed that Martin was involved in financial aid fraud by helping a student enroll in classes, only to drop them and keep the aid. This individual is referred to as a “personal friend” and a “lover” at different points in the lawsuit.
Martin could not be reached for comment prior to the publication of this article, but Seattle U Marketing Communications provided The Spectator with his written statement.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny these false and outrageous allegations of wrongdoing against me,” Martin wrote. “I stand by my record of service and leadership at Loyola Marymount University. I intend to vigorously defend my honor and integrity. I will have no further public comment at this time.”
Seattle U Vice President for Communications Scott McClellan said he had nothing further to add at this time.
The plaintiff, Mary Navia, served as Martin’s administrative specialist from June 2017 to February 2018 when she was fired. Towards the end of her employment, the lawsuit states that she was overworked “to the point she was unable to use the restroom or take breaks during work and, as a result, she was treated for a urinary tract infection. Navia later learned, upon reporting this to Human Resources, that Martin used to have three employees undertaking the tasks that she was doing alone.”
Martin started his position as Provost at Seattle U in June of 2018.
Michelle Newblom, Alec Downing, and Josh Merchant contributed reporting to this story.