FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Former Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko says that he, "Did not leave the University by choice or for 'personal reasons.'"
That mirrors the language used in Fresno State's announcement back in November 2017. At the time the University said that Bartko was leaving the top sports job after three years due to "personal reasons."
In a statement released Wednesday, Bartko says he has filed an administrative claim to preserve his right to file a lawsuit against the University.
In the letter, he says that claim against Fresno State is warranted. "Given the facts about how I was treated over the last ten months of my employment, I believe Fresno State's actions against me and the handling of my forced exit were unlawful."
IN DEPTH: Read Bartko's full statement (PDF)
Action News spoke to an employment attorney, who says if the ex-athletic director files a lawsuit he could be claiming discrimination.
"I would suspect that they may try to make some type of a claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act that he was either disabled or perceived as disabled by his employer," said Todd Barsotti.
Fresno State Vice President Deborah S. Adishian-Astone says that Bartko signed an agreement that stated that he was voluntarily resigning from the University. The arrangement also gave Bartko a check for about $75,000 in severance pay, which Fresno State says he accepted and cashed. In return, Bartko waived his rights for any potential claims against the school. The University has given Action News a full copy of their agreement with Bartko.
"I don't know how he is intending to proceed. I don't see an avenue, but then again, I'm not his lawyer, and I don't know what they are thinking," said Barsotti.
In January 2017, about ten months before his departure from Fresno State, Bartko made headlines for publicly revealing he was sexually molested as a child by a Catholic priest.
At the time Bartko said, "I kept quiet for so long, now it's time to turn the tables and make those that made me feel guilty make them feel guilty."
As he departed, Fresno State's President Joseph Castro had praise for Bartko saying that he, "Focused on charting a new direction for Fresno State's athletics program, and he took the lead in developing the vision for the Bulldog Stadium modernization project."
Fresno State still has no permanent replacement for Bartko, but sources tell Action News that the University is currently interviewing candidates and that an announcement could come in a few weeks.