BREAKING: Lawsuit Alleges Aramark Gave AU Golf Cart, Caps Tickets


by Jacob Wallace

A former Aramark employee has accused American University employees of asking for extravagant gifts from Aramark liaisons, according to a lawsuit filed in the D.C. Superior Court on Feb. 4th. The gifts allegedly included a fully insured golf cart and $14,000 worth of Washington Capitals’ playoff tickets.

Julian Cover filed an employee discrimination lawsuit against Aramark Campus LLC and American University in the D.C. Superior Court after he was fired last fall. In his lawsuit, he alleges that he was disciplined for providing the tickets despite being told by a superior to do so.

Cover was promoted to Resident District Manager at American University in July 2017. His superior was Aramark’s Regional Vice President for the Washington region. Cover was also considered a subordinate of Ann Marie Powell, Director of One Card and Dining Services at AU and Chuck Smith, Director of Auxiliary Services at AU.

In early 2018, Cover says he was auditing American University’s performance on its Aramark contract when he first discovered that his predecessor had been “improperly paying commissions to American University not owed to American University.” This included a golf cart and its insurance.

In late May 2018, Cover alleges that Chuck Smith asked him to purchase six Washington Capitals’ playoff tickets worth about $14,000 dollars. Cover decided to ask his boss, Aramark’s Regional Vice President Stewart McKinney, for advice on what to do. Cover then says McKinney confirmed he should purchase the tickets on his personal credit card and file an expense report, which he did.

Cover says the ultimate reason for his firing came down to allegations of improper conduct against him by another employee. In his telling, a female employee made advances towards him which he felt were inappropriate, and he attempted to go through the proper disciplinary process with her. The female employee has said that Cover was the one who made improper advances.

American University’s Dining Services and Aramark have been criticized heavily in recent months for proposed changes to Aramark’s meal plan services. In the past, campus business owner Tom Gera and former campus business owner Tahir Kaheil have also accused Aramark of attempting to push them off campus in previous interviews with The Rival American. Aramark has operated dining services on campus since June 2013, when it took over from Bon Appetit.

The Rival American reached out to AU for comment and was told by university spokesperson Mark Story that it is AU practice to “not comment on ongoing litigation.”

The full lawsuit can be found here.