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Breaking down former President Nyre’s lawsuit against Seton Hall 

On Feb. 5, former Seton Hall President Dr. Joseph Nyre, filed a lawsuit against Seton Hall, alleging gaslighting, retaliation and breach of his Separation and General Release Agreement. 

Within the 64-page suit are eight counts in which there are violations of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) and discrimination and retaliation in violation of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). The lawsuit also demands a trial by jury.

The Defendants of the lawsuit include multiple members of the University’s Board of Regents. One name that is mentioned consistently throughout, despite not being named as a defendant, is former Chairman of the Board Kevin Marino.

Nyre’s wife, Kelli, is also in the lawsuit, alleging that Marino sexually harassed her on multiple occasions. 

“The claims in this filing are completely without merit, and we intend to vigorously contest them,” said Michael Ricciardelli, the associate director of Media Relations. “Beyond this, we will not be commenting on this matter.”

In a response, Marino said that Nyre “is attempting to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation and secure another undeserved payout from the University.”

The lawsuit is very comprehensive, though it should be noted that this is one side. Marino and the University have yet to defend these allegations and will be given the opportunity to do so should it reach court.

Here is a complete breakdown of all of Nyre’s allegations in the lawsuit: 

Nyre alleges various violations of Seton Hall’s bylaws, procedures and policies, including violations of state and federal laws.

  • Nyre alleges that Marino interfered with the investigation into embezzlement at Seton Hall’s law school and claims that Marino regularly communicated with the then-Dean Kathleen Boozang in an effort to help Boozang get a seven-figure settlement before the investigation concluded.

  • Nyre alleges that Marino tried to “force” him to violate the University’s building-naming policies and procedures “in a calculated effort to appease” Robert Brennan, Marino’s personal friend and a former Board member prior to his felony conviction.

  • Nyre alleges that Marino attempted to use his influence to admit undeserving students (who were the children of his personal friends) into the law and nursing schools.

  • During a meeting with the Board’s Committee of Regents on Dec. 16, 2022, Nyre was allegedly directed by said committee not to place anything in writing unless requested by the University.

  • The suit claims that Seton Hall’s counsel and attorney, Angelo Stio, directed University staff to manipulate the annual report of claims and complaints filed by removing all pending complaints against Marino, which were “closed without any investigation ever being opened.”

  • On multiple occasions, Nyre said he requested the Board to follow the bylaws, policies and procedures while taking steps to protect employees from Marino, but the Board refused to make a written contractual commitment to that effect.

Nyre alleges Marino interfered with hiring procedures due to conflict of interest.

  • In or around Spring 2020, Nyre alleges that Marino attempted on multiple occasions to get his close friend, Mariellen Dugan, hired as general counsel with a 50% increase in the approved salary, which would be an additional $165,000.

  • Former NJ Governor Christopher Christie makes an appearance in this lawsuit, in which his wife, Mary, was able to become a member of the Board of Regents due to their close friendship with Marino.

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On several occasions, Nyre alleges that Marino harassed and retaliated against him for not doing what he wanted.

  • Nyre claims that Marino harassed him using vulgar language via phone calls, face-to-face interactions pre- and post-campus meetings.

  • While Marino was campaigning to have his friend Dugan hired as general counsel, Nyre claims that Marino’s conduct allegedly “became so unbearable that [Seton Hall’s] general counsel asked to avoid in-person committee meetings” with him.

  • On one occasion, Nyre claims that Marino decided to work on campus for the day in Nyre’s suite, which he had never previously done. He sat in the conference room with the lights turned off, insistently demanding a meeting to discuss Nyre’s concerns about his conduct.

  • Nyre said that, after sharing his concerns, Marino told him, “When someone is my partner, things go very well for them. When someone is not my partner, things go very poorly. I can guarantee you that it’s in your personal and professional best interest to shake my hand, agree to be my partner and tell the Board we have resolved our issues.”

  • On another occasion, Nyre alleges that Marino berated him and the University’s general counsel, Kimberly Capadona, leaving her “visibly, physically shaking and struggling to gather her belongings and depart the room.”

  • On March 22, 2023, Nyre claims that Marino allegedly threatened Nyre’s “manhood” and claimed that he refused to meet with him one-on-one, “like a man.”

Nyre alleges an untenable work environment.

  • Nyre claims he requested Seton Hall to temporarily provide him with personal security due to his concerns over Marino’s behavior, but was denied.

  • In May 2023, current Chairman of the Board, Henry D’Allessandro, posted a Board resolution exonerating Marino of any wrongdoing, commended him for his service to Seton Hall and promoted him to Chair Emeritus.

  • During negotiations for Nyre’s Separation and General Release Agreement, Nyre claims that “an unknown individual leaked false information to the Star Ledger indicating there were at least two sources incorrectly claiming that [Nyre] was being separated from [Seton Hall] due to alleged sexual harassment by [him].” Nothing regarding said information was ever published.

  • Later, Seton Hall and Marino allegedly demanded Nyre to reopen negotiations with the Agreement to “meet [Marino’s] standards,” or else an investigation into the latter would be opened. He refused, and on Nov. 16, 2023, an investigation began in which he was never provided indemnification or legal representation.

  • Nyre says he was later “improperly” assigned a 1099 income form for legal fees incurred in connection with said investigation.

Nyre alleges multiple violations of his Separation and General Release Agreement.

  • Nyre alleges that Seton Hall threatened to evict him and his family from “the home provided to them as consideration in connection with the Agreement.”

  • Nyre claims that Seton Hall cancelled his health insurance on three separate occasions and threatened to cancel it for a fourth time, going as far as advising his “health providers independently” that he was no longer employed at the University.

  • Nyre claims that Seton Hall “unilaterally” decreased Nyre’s “net severance pay for Dec. 2023 by $41,000 without providing him adequate notice.”

  • Nyre also alleges that the University, without adequate notice, increased the cost of monthly rent for five months.

Kelli Nyre, Dr. Nyre’s wife, alleges Marino sexually harassed her on multiple occasions.

  • On June 9, 2021, during the University’s Annual Board Dinner at Jubilee Hall, Kelli Nyre alleges that Marino approached her, “placed his hand on her back preventing [her] from moving, moved [her] hair away from her neck with his other hand, kissed [her] on the neck and whispered into her ear, ‘you know I love you.’”

  • After the dinner, according to the lawsuit, Kelli Nyre “made an intentional effort” to attend fewer Seton Hall events, and, if she had to, requested Nyre or another staff member to be near her at all times “in the presence of” Marino.

  • The other incident mentioned was during the Christmas 2022 Board Dinner Reception at the University Center on Dec. 6, in which Kelli Nyre  had arrived at the event before Nyre. She alleged that Marino approached her from behind, “placed his hands on her shoulders and commented in a lascivious tone, ‘Look at [Kelli] rocking the Loubees,’ in a reference to Christian Louboutin shoes.”

  • Nyre claims had asked Kevin Flood, a member of the Board of Regents, to stay with his wife until he arrived. Flood, who happened to witness the alleged encounter, “immediately intervened” and stood by her until Nyre got to the event.

Emma Thumann is the Setonian’s editor-in-chief and a writer for its News section. She can be reached at


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