SPOKANE, Wash. - It's been an eight and a 1/2 year journey for Yvonne Johnson. In 2005, she packed up her Jeep in Minneapolis and hit the road for Spokane. When she arrived in the Lilac City she said the theater she was about to take over was close to closure.
"I looked at it as an incredible challenge and an opportunity to help a community theater that has been in existence for 60 years," Yvonne Johnson said. "I've given everything I got to this job."
In the past 8 and a 1/2 years the theater went from an annual operating budget of $450,000 to 1.2 million dollars. She got a glowing review from the Civic Theater board just a month ago, and on top of all that she got a new contract. But a new theater board took over July 1st and when they did, much to the surprise of Johnson, she was fired.
We reached out to the Civic Theater and its new board president several times, but at this point all they have told us is no comment. The theater has still not given an answer publicly as to why she was let go.
"This is not just against Yvonne Johnson, this is against the community of Spokane," Johnson's Attorney Bob Dunn said. "You had a new board and a new agenda that they were going to execute and sure enough within 11 days they did it."
Now, the new board has a new lawsuit to the tune of $2 million. Johnson said that was the only option she had after they took away her job and all of her benefits with no reason at all.
"This is my livelihood, it's my career and it's one that has taken 20 years to build," Johnson said. "I do not want to take any legal action against the Spokane Civic Theater. It's the theater that I love and one that I have helped to build over the past 8 and a 1/2 years. I want the community to know that my support and my love is with them always and this not the route that I want to pursue."