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Ohio State spent $1.6M to fight former band director

Fired Ohio State band director Jonathan Waters won’t have to pick up the university’s legal tab despite losing two lawsuits he filed against his former employer. Waters said his legal fees topped $500,000. (WSYX/WTTE)

Fired Ohio State band director Jonathan Waters won’t have to pick up the university’s legal tab despite losing two lawsuits he filed against his former employer.

An accounting breakdown of all legal costs released by the university Wednesday revealed Ohio State racked up nearly $1.6 million to defend itself.

Waters was fired as the band director in 2014 after complaints and a university investigation found a “sexualized culture” within the band. The report highlighted inappropriate rituals, suggestive nicknames and lewd parody songs.

Following his firing, Waters called the report a “fraud” and claimed defamation, slander and putting him in a false light by holding him responsible.

Waters sued both in federal court and in the state’s court of claims. He lost both lawsuits.

In an agreement between Waters and Ohio State, the university agreed to not recover any legal fees from Waters now or in the future.

Additionally, Waters cannot file any charges, make claims or bring any new litigation against Ohio State.

Waters spoke with ABC 6/FOX 28 by phone late Wednesday afternoon. He explained his legal fees topped $500,000.

“From the beginning, we only wanted an open and honest discussion with the university,” Waters said. “It’s unfortunate so much money was spent to fight on another.”

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