Revelations that longtime founder Marc Smirnoff and managing editor Carol Ann Fitzgerald at The Oxford American magazine were fired Sunday have sparked more mystery about the ongoing investigation into the pair.
That investigation concludes today, but Warwick Sabin, publisher, said he didn't know whether the Oxford American Literary Project board, the nonprofit over the magazine, will involve police.
Because the issue is a "personnel matter," Sabin said he couldn't elaborate on why the board decided to dismiss the two. The board met Sunday and decided to fire both Fitzgerald and Smirnoff.
The nonprofit does not have to turn over personnel records when employees are fired.
Smirnoff said in an Arkansas Times article that he had served minors alcohol. He and Fitzgerald also have been in a relationship for years, according to a blog at the Arkansas Times.
In a news release issued after 8 p.m. last night, Sabin said:
"Now that Mr. Smirnoff and Ms. Fitzgerald have disclosed certain details of the situation, I am obligated to respond. Earlier this month, the Oxford American Board of Directors engaged professional legal counsel to conduct a thorough and fair investigation of allegations made against Mr. Smirnoff and Ms. Fitzgerald. The entire Board then met for two hours on Sunday to carefully review and discuss with counsel the findings of the investigation, and it voted unanimously in separate roll calls to terminate the employment of Mr. Smirnoff and Ms. Fitzgerald."
When contacted today, Sabin said he had nothing to add.
"All the developments have been covered to the extent they can be covered," he said.
Attempts by the Log Cabin to contact Smirnoff and Fitzgerald have been unsuccessful, but other news sources say the pair plan to fight their firings.
The offices at the University of Central Arkansas were closed Wednesday night and the locks changed. In a UCA police dispatch log, an officer noted Smirnoff was upset.
Sabin, who will be interim editor and remain publisher, said the UCA office reopened today.