A longtime probation officer has sued the Nebraska Office of Probation Administration and its director, alleging he was fired last year after he discovered mishandling and misappropriation of state funds and voiced dismay over a supervisor's use of the "N word" during training.

Marc Grimminger, a 55-year-old Ceresco man, had worked as a state probation officer and supervisor for 30 years.

A spokeswoman with the Nebraska Attorney General's Office declined to comment Thursday on the lawsuit, which was filed in Lancaster County District Court last month.

In it, Grimminger's attorney, James Zalewski, calls him the "victim of unlawful retaliation when he refused to acquiesce."

He alleges Grimminger was terminated because he had reported improper handling of state tax funds and equipment, refused to support a probation chiefs association and protested the alleged inappropriate conduct of a supervisor.

The allegations included:

* A supervisor circulating a letter to state senators for employees to sign on behalf of a probation chiefs association while on state time.

* Staff at the Wahoo Probation Office collecting money for urine tests of probationers without keeping receipts and allowing probation officers to make $25 per hour for supervising community service work they put in place and recommended to the court.

* Two employees splitting profits from a victim impact class they formed with an outside provider and offering other probation officers $5 for each client they referred to the class.

* His supervisor's alleged use of the "N word" during a training meeting in April 2014. When Grimminger, a white man, voiced his dismay during a performance evaluation and advised Probation Administration, Zalewski said, Grimminger was told that it did not need to be discussed and that he was being insubordinate. He was suspended for a week without pay.

* The Wahoo office being paid to breath-test students at high school events using testing equipment meant for probationers.

"After raising these complaints, Grimminger was terminated on Nov. 16, 2016," Zalewski wrote in the lawsuit.

The suit seeks back pay and lost benefits, plus four years of front pay, as well as $500,000 for emotional stress, pain and suffering caused by how he was treated.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.

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Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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