Sunrise's Ousted CFO Files Suit
Sunrise Senior Living's former chief financial officer is firing back over his ouster from the senior housing giant.
Bradley Rush has filed suit for breach of contract and defamation in Fairfax Circuit Court, claiming he was wrongly discharged in May 2007 after discovering accounting problems. Sunrise disputes the account.
"Sunrise fired Mr. Rush in retaliation for his discovery and disclosure of Sunrise's improper, and in some cases fraudulent, accounting practices, and as part of Sunrise's campaign to make Mr. Rush the 'fall guy' for its improper and fraudulent behavior," Rush's lead attorney John M. Dowd said in a statement.
Dowd says in a press release that Sunrise wanted Rush out of the way because the McLean company was trying to sell itself to private investors.
In a press release April 25, Sunrise said it had suspended Rush after the board of directors concluded that he failed to follow the company's document retention directives. He was subsequently terminated in May. At the time, the company was reviewing recent insider sales of company stock, its historical practices related to stock option grants and the facts relating to its accounting treatment for certain categories of transactions.
Dowd said the only documents Rush failed to retain were personal documents that Sunrise's general counsel told him did not need to be kept.
Sunrise issued a statement, calling Rush's assertions "nonsense."
"Sunrise has not yet been served with a copy of Mr. Rush's complaint, but has only seen his lawyer's press release. The assertion there that Mr. Rush was fired because he was trying to uncover or report financial improprieties is nonsense.
"The reasons why Mr. Rush's employment as CFO was terminated for cause, including his actions inconsistent with the company's document preservation directives, as previously disclosed by the company, will be demonstrated in the litigation. Because this matter is now in the courts, Sunrise does not believe it would be appropriate to make further public comment at this time. The company, however, intends to vigorously contest this legal action."
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