After series of WBRZ reports on payment demands, SU band director fired
BATON ROUGE – The director of the iconic Human Jukebox, Southern's renowned marching band, is no longer employed with Southern University.
> READ: Letter sent to Southern University staff, students, fans and supporters late Tuesday; CLICK HERE to read it.
The WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit learned Nathan Haymer was fired. Haymer's abrupt departure comes amid a series of reports by WBRZ over questionable demands related to how he asked Mardi Gras krewes to pay him directly for part of the fee associated with having the Southern band perform at events or in parades.
A Southern official said Haymer had been "terminated."
Hundreds of emails tied to Haymer's Southern University email account and obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit show Haymer demanded around $3,000 from Mardi Gras krewes - including Zulu, Bacchus, Femme Fatale, Poseidon and Nyx.
Specifics about Haymer's departure were not immediately available, but WBRZ reported Monday, board members making up the Southern University personnel committee appeared to have held a meeting at the administrative building on campus. Dr. Leon Tarver, Patrick Magee, Tony Clayton and Ann Smith were seen attending.
"I can tell you at no point did any board member give Dr. Belton instruction on what to do, except for to be honest, ethical and do what's appropriate," Magee said.
Video of the group convening at Southern aired on WBRZ Monday evening. Less than 24-hours later, Haymer was gone from the staff.
> MORE: Original March report by WBRZ; Click HERE
As a state employee, Haymer may have violated ethics laws. The codes strictly regulate payments from nonpublic sources. Part of the law reads, "No public servant shall receive anything of economic value, other than compensation and benefits from the governmental entity to which he is duly entitled for the performance and duties and responsibilities of his office or position."
Following WBRZ's reports, Haymer's brother, Niles, who is also the band director's attorney, attempted to start a social media campaign – claiming the band director at Florida A&M has received payments for that school's band to perform.
“Someone tell me what's the difference?” Niles Haymer posted, using hashtags – a social media technique to link conversations - #TelltheTruth and #MarchingforMrHaymer.
But, FAMU disputed Haymer's argument
“[The post does not include the] full document which states all payments must be paid and written to Florida A&M University.... Once the funds are received they are distributed to the band's university account. All fees must be paid to the university...not to an individual."
“It was my goal to uphold the prestigious legacy of the Human Jukebox by taking the band to greater heights of unprecedented success,” Nathan Haymer said in a statement about his termination. “I always took pride in being an ambassador for Southern University and at no time did I ever act in a nefarious manner by accepting 'kickbacks' as falsely reported by the media.”
Southern said Lawrence Jackson will provide interim leadership of the band. Jackson was a previous Human Jukebox director. He retired in 2014.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz
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