Bizarre circumstances surrounding the Kokinis firing

The story here is very strange according to ESPN.

Kokinis refused to resign when pressed by owner Randy Lerner, who then persisted in seeking a dismissal “for cause,” citing Kokinis for failing to meet the specific standards as dictated by his contract, the sources said. The team’s security and legal department were reviewing phone records to build its case against Kokinis, a team source said.

There also were discussions of whether the two sides could reach a financial settlement, sources said.

Television station WKYC and the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported Monday night that Kokinis was ushered out of the Berea facility by security around lunchtime Monday.

In a statement, the Browns said, “Cleveland Browns general manager George Kokinis is no longer actively involved with the organization. In response to rumors and reports that Kokinis was escorted out of the building today, the Browns deny those reports. In the interest of protecting the parties involved we will withhold further comment.”

Dialogue between the two sides actually occurred for the past week before Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the Bears sent the Browns reeling into the bye week with a 1-7 record. For the past month, Lerner has independently investigated professional and personal conduct by Kokinis, head coach Eric Mangini and director of football operations Erin O’Brien, who left the organization within the past few days, sources said. Mangini said Monday he had spoken with Lerner and was told his job was safe for now.

It appears that problems with George Kokinis have been building for weeks. It’s not like Randy Lerner to try to terminate an executive or coach “for cause” – a common legal term in contracts which usually permits the employer to fire someone for specified reasons which would result in penalties for the employee, usually the loss of severance or other future payments. Bottom line – Lerner wanted Kokinis gone and he didn’t want to pay him the balance of his contract. We can expect to hear much more about this story.

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