A war of words: Fresno State releases statement in response to former AD Jim Bartko's

FRESNO, Calif. - Seven months after former Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko left Fresno State, a new statement to the press.

In it, Bartko saying, he did not leave for "personal reasons," as the university then announced.

Bartko says, he was forced out and filed a claim to quote "preserve his right to file a lawsuit."

Fresno State then sending out its own, short, statement in response. The school pointing out it paid Bartko $75,000 in severance pay, bringing this settlement agreement to light.

"He's trying to tee up his position that, he didn't want to leave, but was forced out," Fresno attorney Roger Bonakdar said. 

Bonakdar read through both the settlement agreement and Bartko's statement.

"He uses some buzzwords in here, such as anxiety illness and PTSD," Bonakdar said. "So that seems to indicate that he thinks perhaps he was discriminated against."

If there is a lawsuit, Bonakdar says, it will come down to the agreement, which mutually ended Bartko's contract.

"The sole question is, is whether there was any claim that relates to Fresno State, that does not fall in that settlement agreement," Bonakdar said.

Specifically portion 3.5, which Bonakdar says, waves any and all claims, including those under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Fresno State's position is going to be, and has to be, that that agreement wraps up any and all claims that could have anything to do with Fresno State, whether his employment or otherwise," Bonakdar said. "That's going to be their position, and that is what a judge will decide."

Bartko signed on with Fresno State back in 2014. Among his hires, Fresno State Football Coach Jeff Tedford.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe.

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