- Published on 19 January 2016
Recently fired President of Starkey Laboratories, Jerry Ruzicka, is suing the US hearing aids manufacturer, claiming wrongful termination and defamation, reports TwinCities.
Back in September last year, Starkey announced the termination of its Executive President along with three other senior executives, Keith Guggenberger, Scott Nelson, and Larry Miller. Several lawsuits have already been filed and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently searched Ruzicka’s home.
Now, Ruzicka’s lawyers have in turn filed a suit and claim that Ruzicka was wrongfully terminated because he reported improprieties by company founder William Austin and Vice-President Brandon Sawalich, Austin’s stepson, to company executives. Ruzicka also believes the founding family wanted him out of the company because he had started looking into building a new business in the same sector once his contract expired.
The suit alleges that there were tax improprieties and that the company spent millions on projects with no commercial value, including USD 50 million on unprofitable television and film productions by another of Austin’s stepsons.
According to Starkey’s attorneys, “We are confident that the investigation will show that Ruzicka abused the trust that was placed in him by, among other things, stealing millions of dollars from the company and its employees over a period of several years. Ruzicka’s civil lawsuit will succeed neither in diverting attention from his own conduct nor delaying the inevitable.”