Lawsuits are latest fallout from 1996 staff revolt in Wichita

The bitter conflict that led to the departure of the top two executives at Wichita, Kan., public TV station KPTS in 1996 has not yet been put to rest.  A leader of the staff rebellion, Candyce P. (Candy) Hoop, and her onetime assistant, Som P. Chanthabouly, filed suits in federal court May 7, [1999], charging that the station fired them in retribution for expressing workplace grievances three years ago. Though Kansas law allows plaintiffs to specify only damages “in excess of $75,000” in such lawsuits, the two former KPTS staffers are actually going for more than $1 million apiece, said one of their attorneys, Frank Kamas. Gloria Flentje, attorney for the station, gave the boilerplate response: “The station believes the cases are without merit and will defend itself vigorously.” The suits name not only KPTS but also the ousted longtime managers, interim and current presidents, and past and present board chairmen.