CHICAGO (CN) – The former CFO of Aeralert, which makes crisis management software for airports, claims its CEO Juliana Lam defamed him to retaliate for his true reports to the Aeralert board that she had defrauded the company and driven it into insolvency.
Joseph Kruse claims Lam already has a $947,000 judgment against her in Florida, “for alleged improper conduct in her role as CEO of” Keith Eickert Power Products, and that her recent slanders and libels could damage his own asset management firm.
Kruse was a portfolio manager at Bear Stearns until he quit to manage his own company, Kruse Asset Management. He claims Lam hired him as CFO of Aeralert knowing he would run KAM at the same time. He claims he quickly discovered that she “used company funds for personal expenses, made material misrepresentations to clients, investors and employees,” wasting and mismanaging corporate assets, so that “her actions left the company insolvent.”
Kruse says he notified that board that if they did not fire her, he would have to quit, and he did. He claims Lam retaliated by falsely accusing him of theft and other improprieties and threatened “to use her ‘connections’ to involved the Chicago Police Department to improperly seize Mr. Kruse’s personal computer.”
He claims she proceeded to defame him to “employees, consultants, investors and other associates … (including) members of an evaluation committee of the City of Chicago, which may have included government officials.”
He says the Aeralert board eventually did force Lam’s resignation, which she has tried to rescind. Represented by Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, he demands punitive damages.