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Lawsuit: UofL whistleblower says college 'retaliated' against her

Amy Shoemaker is suing UofL for both compensatory and punitive damages.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former high-ranking official at the University of Louisville is suing the college over what she says happened behind the scenes during the Dino Gaudio extortion attempt.

Court documents say Amy Shoemaker was the Deputy General Counsel at UofL during the time the university was looking to fire Gaudio.

When Shoemaker learned of potential extortion by Gaudio, she reported it the UofL Police Department the lawsuit says.

After that is when she alleges UofL President Neeli Bendapudi was angry and frustrated with Shoemaker, and that Bendapudi allegedly wished it was dealt with internally.

"When you have the president of the University telling her lawyer, 'you can't trust the FBI, they're tricky,'" Attorney Hans Poppe posited. "That's a problem."

Poppe represents Shoemaker in her whistleblower suit against UofL.

The lawsuit says that in April of 2021 on a video conference Bendapudi berated Shoemaker for reporting the extortion attempt and helping the FBI investigation. They claim Bendapudi then said, "Amy! you cannot trust the FBI." She went on to say, the FBI is "Tricky."

That's when Shoemaker says in the lawsuit she was shut out of roles that her job required including phone calls and meetings, and no longer had calendar access.

On Dec. 9, 10 days after Shoemaker was "constructively terminated" according to the lawsuit,  Pennsylvania State University named Bendapudi its new president.

"Because of her role, she was clearly being demoted from a position of great responsibility that she had to being completely unaware of what was going on," Poppe said.

Shoemaker is suing UofL for both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory means they compensate what Shoemaker allegedly lost, and punitive would be to punish the university.

UofL sent a statement saying they don't comment on pending litigation.

Following is a statement on behalf of Dr. Neeli Bendapudi:

My commitment to ethical conduct and treating people the right way has been unwavering throughout my career. The teams I have built at multiple institutions reflect these bedrock values. I have and will continue to lead with integrity and have complete confidence in Dr. Michael Wade Smith who emulates these principles as well. 

Gaudio pled guilty to attempting to extort money from the university June 4, 2021 and sentenced Aug. 30, 2021.

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