During a bench trial Thursday, the court ruled in favor of Rosemary Salerno because no facts have been proved that would support a judgment against the former general manager of Zona Rosa.
In a civil lawsuit, Olshan Properties, the former owner of Zona Rosa, accused Salerno of using the mall’s funds to purchase equipment for her personal furniture business. Olshan’s attorney, Jessie Bustamante, introduced all evidence against Salerno at a bench trial before Associate Circuit Court Judge Dennis Eckold.
After all evidence was fully presented, Salerno’s legal team made an oral motion for a directed verdict on the basis Olshan Properties did not introduce sufficient evidence.
The court entered a judgment in favor of Salerno, who served as the general manager of Zona Rosa for a 14-year period.
In the lawsuit, Olshan Properties contends it terminated Salerno’s employment on Feb. 5, 2018 following an internal investigation into whether she used her position to gain $1,146 in equipment for her own personal use.
In a separate and distinct lawsuit, Salerno’s attorney Athena Dickson argues Salerno was wrongfully fired after she refused to use parking meter funds towards Zona Rosa’s operating costs. From the onset, funds collected from the 250 parking meters went directly to various charities in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
According to the lawsuit, the corporate treasurer of Olshan Properties allegedly told Salerno to “figure out a way” to use the parking meter funds towards the mall’s operating costs.
Salerno is seeking more than $25,000 in damages for lost wages, benefits and suffering.
The case has been moved from the Jackson County Circuit Court to the United States District Court of the Western District of Missouri.