Taking over administration for SharePoint after a previous administrator was ‘let go’ always has little gotchas that pop up. One of those can be needing to create a new site collection administrator. If you can’t get access to the site, you can use stsadm to create a site collection administrator.
stsadm -o adduser -url URLOFSITECOLLECTION -userlogin USERLOGIN -useremail "USEREMAIL" -role "Full Control" -group "Farm Administrators" -username "USERDISPLAYNAME" –siteadmin
Now you have a user that has access to undo all of the previous Administrator’s SharePoint badness.