Advertisement

Woman cleared of theft sues for $1 million

Gayla White had been accused of pocketing money paid to book weddings at Windmill Station, a special events venue where she worked as a contracted employee.
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 7:31 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -A former Dothan planning commissioner found not guilty on theft charges has filed a lawsuit seeking $1,000,000 from her former boss, who she claims filed false reports in anger.

Gayla White had been accused of pocketing money paid to book weddings at Windmill Station, a special events venue where she worked as a contracted employee.

White told News 4 that business owner Eddie Donaldson was angry because she had obtained other employment and refused to work her final scheduled weekend at Windmill.

She also claims Donaldson became agitated when she demanded he give her tax documents related to her work agreement.

Donaldson claimed in 2018 that White had stolen about $5,700 in cash. She was indicted but, in her April 2021 trial, a jury found her not guilty following less than an hour of deliberations.

“It has been tough---scared from worrying about what the outcome was going to be and actually getting to this point and still not having a job,” White told News 4.

White said, because of the charges, she has not worked since her arrest, losing the job she departed Windmill Station to accept.

She rightly points out her cases received more than usual media attention because of her public position. Besides serving on the planning commission, she is a former Dothan School Board member and worked on the staff of a state senator.

Accounts of her arrest appeared on websites in several states, though only local media reported the verdict.

Her lawsuit, filed by attorney Steve McGowan, claims she suffers from anxiety, embarrassment, shame, loss of sleep, and humiliation because of the ordeal.

Donaldson did not return a phone call and email seeking comment.

(This story updated to reflect the amount of money Ms. White was accused of stealing and to clarify that Mr. Donaldson did not respond.)

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.