Five longtime highly paid employees are suing Lebanese Lyme Computer Systems and its management in retaliation;
The lawsuit, filed Jan. 15, alleges that the company placed the defendants on leave on Jan. 5, the day after the Federal Department of Labor subpoenaed documents related to their complaint.
They also allege that executives accessed personal emails to attend Zoom meetings with attorneys, regarding transparency regarding the ESOP, and that one employee filed a 401(k).
“This is a lawsuit regarding retaliation against ESOP participants who have raised concerns,” said Carolyn K. Cole, an attorney at Cole Associates Civil Law PLLC in Lebanon. “We’re not taking a position that they overpaid themselves or did anything wrong other than the actions they took toward these employees.”
Lyme Computer is an information technology service provider and large federal government contractor. The company’s CEO, Josh Longacre, one of his defendants in the lawsuit, declined to comment on Tuesday, saying the company was in the process of hiring a lawyer to represent it. Other defendants are Chief Financial Officer Henry Flickinger Jr., Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Sullivan and Chief Technology Officer Michael Nagy. His first three make up the entire board of directors of the company and also manage the ESOP.
An ESOP technically owns part or all of the company on behalf of its employees, and although employees can redeem their shares upon retirement, employees typically do not control them.
The ESOP was founded in 2008, was valued at approximately $4 million in 2017 and more than $7 million in 2020, according to the complaint, with employee stakes more than doubling from 2015 to 2020. increased to
Alarm bells have rung when stocks are up less than 0.5% in 2021.
Plaintiffs had already raised questions about the company and the ESOP, especially when retired company founder and former president Curt Vinson replaced him as a board member in 2019.
One of the defendants, Stephen Micare, 63, of Orford, who worked there for 26 years and earned a salary of $95,000, had raised concerns since 2017.
The other defendant is 67-year-old Colin Nicholl, a senior account executive for 33 years, earning an average of $525,000 in commissions and working remotely from Florida. William McCarthy, 64, has been in sales for 17 years and lives in the Cornish. Linda Neubelt, 65, has been a federal commission manager for 20 years, will earn an average of $166,000 in 2022, and lives in Maine. Teresa Orechovesky, 50, 14-year veteran, last year she made $260,000 in commissions and lives in North Carolina and Georgia.
A group of ESOP participants (as they called themselves) began investigating the company, and after Vinson left, executives began paying based on gross revenue instead of net revenue, giving themselves about $1.1 million in PPP money as a bonus. It is said that he learned that he had bestowed upon us. Complaints are illegal if a board member makes more than her $100,000. (The complaint does not specify executive compensation, but it is stated to be more than $100,000.)
The group took these concerns to the U.S. Department of Labor in Boston, launched an investigation, and submitted a document on January 4.
In a letter sent the next day, the plaintiff took a leave of absence. “Lime Computer Systems experienced an information security breach. We learned that confidential company information (not our customers’) was accessed and disclosed outside the company. Investigate breach and determine next steps We are in the process of doing it.”
The group was locked out of the computer network and told to stop working on the account, complaints say.
The next day, CTO Nagy was able to “unauthorizedly access” one of their email accounts and listen to a Zoom meeting with plaintiffs’ attorneys, according to the complaint. The lawsuit charges him with computer fraud and abuse law violations.
Other fees are related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates retirement plans such as ESOPs and 401(k)s.
Plaintiffs are seeking to be reinstated in their previous indemnifications or seek damages if the lawsuit is protracted.