Presbyterian Church's controller challenges dismissal

Posted: Friday, September 10, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) A man who was fired after 16 years as controller of the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) plans to challenge his dismissal.

Nagy Tawfik said he was made a ''scapegoat'' of a controversial bidding procedure. He and his lawyers said they will try to resolve the issue through internal grievance procedures.

The denomination fired Tawfik as controller last week, alleging he mishandled the bidding process for an upcoming financial audit of church agencies.

Presbyterian officials said Tawfik inflated the number of hours needed for an audit and wrote bid specifications that would favor a particular company. But Tawfik said, ''I was retaliated against because I questioned the numbers.''

He said he initially raised questions about the bidding procedure when one of the firms filed estimates that were almost identical to previous payments. He said it seemed a strange coincidence but ''never claimed that anybody did anything wrong,'' only that he said ''the numbers do not make sense.''

Tawfik, 53, a native of Egypt, said he believes he was singled out because of his ethnic background.

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