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Liberty Missouri

NC airline hit with EEOC suit after CEO's arrest

AP | EMERY P. DALESIO | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

A charter airline that once operated as Hooters Air has quit ferrying NBA stars and rockers as it struggles against lost contracts and a felony charge against its CEO for allegedly failing to make payments on his employees' group health insurance.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday added to the problems confronting Pace Airlines Inc. by filing a lawsuit on behalf of an Asian flight attendant fired three years ago after complaining only white workers were being promoted. The EEOC said it went to court after failing to reach a settlement on behalf of Chau Nguyen, who the agency said made several complaints of discrimination after missing out on promotion to lead flight attendant.

The lawsuit came a day after the private company's new owner and CEO, William Charles Rodgers, was charged with one count of willful failure to pay group health insurance premiums.

North Carolina law requires that companies give workers a 45-day notice before dropping health coverage. Rodgers, 59, of Liberty, Mo., was in the process of hiring an attorney, company spokesman Stuart Carnie said Wednesday.

The rarely used state law has been applied in 28 cases this year, up from about 10 cases in all of last year, but it almost never leads to an arrest, Insurance Department spokeswoman Kristin Milam said.