Fired Convention Center CFO Sues Center and CEO Ahmeenah Young

Madeline Apollo alleges that her attempts to shed light on corruption led to her wrongful termination

It’s hardly surprising that the Pennsylvania Convention Center has been a beacon for controversy since its 1993 debut. After all, anytime that you combine politicians, unions, and hundreds of millions of dollars, things are likely to get a little murky. But if the allegations set forth in a new suit are true, blue-collar scuffles and a little political backscratching are just the beginning.

On Tuesday, former Convention Center CFO Madeline Apollo, who says she was fired from that post last year, filed suit in Federal Court claiming breach of contract, wrongful termination and conspiracy. In the suit, Apollo paints a picture of corruption, patronage and misspent taxpayer funds and says that she was fired by Convention Center CEO Ahmeenah Young for trying to bring these things to light.

Among the more interesting allegations found in the 39-page complaint:

  • Apollo says that Young “used the Convention Center’s credit card and taxpayer funds as her personal piggybank [sic], including violating state and federal criminal laws by using the Convention Center’s credit card to pay for political fund raising events at the Convention Center.”
  • According to the suit, Young used her power to award a multi-million dollar contract for the center’s housekeeping to Team Clean, a firm owned by a friend of Young. Apollo claims that “Young angrily directed [her] that she could not even perform the routine weighted average analysis of the various housekeeping bids” and that Team Clean was “not the most responsible bidder.” She adds that “Young misrepresented to the Convention Center’s Board that Team Clean was the lowest bidder… In fact, the overall bid made by Team Clean was one of the highest bids.”
  • Apollo also alleges that an employee of the Convention Center was fired after accusing Stephanie Boyd, a vice-president at the Convention Center, of asking, “How black are you?” and then telling her, “Don’t you know that black women are running the Convention Center and you would go further if you were more black.”

Neither Young nor Apollo’s attorney returned a call yesterday seeking comment.