LOS ANGELES (CN) – The founder of the California Bar prep program National Bar Review claims he was shafted by Amsterdam-based publishing company Wolters Kluwer when it reneged on a deal to buy his company and pay him a big salary and hefty benefits.
In his Superior Court complaint, Daniel Desario says his business was prospering when he made an agreement with Wolters Kluwer’s U.S. branch.
Desario said he agreed to the offer because he was promised him $2 million for his business, a base annual salary of $500,000, and employment for life as “National Bar Director” for helping the company “become a strong competitor” in the bar review market.
At the time, Desario says, Wolters Kluwer had no experience in running a bar review business.
Wolters Kluwer executive Rick Kravitz, a defendant, told him many times, “You’re our man. We need you and we need your guidance. We want to follow your model and put together the best bar review program in the country,” Desario says.
Wolters Kluwer also told him he would be given a $25,000 bonus and a car of his choice, Desario says.
Desario says he signed an employment agreement in November 2007, for $200,000 for his first year, with an oral agreement for the additional compensation.
He says he was also enlisted by defendant Aspen Publishers, a subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer, to write books for several projects which would have brought in “hundreds of thousands in additional revenue.”
Desario says that after her spent considerable time working on the “Emmanuel Program,” the publisher’s new bar review project, and months contributing to Wolters Kluwer, he was told he should work instead as an independent contractor. By this time, the sale of his National Bar Review had dragged on for a year, he says.
When Desario received the independent contractor agreement, it provided for far less compensation then what had been discussed, he says. When he asked about the “inaccuracies, deceit, and misrepresentations” he was ignored, he says.
He seeks punitive damages for breach of written and oral contract, fraud, emotional distress, promissory estoppel, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of fiduciary duty. He is represented by Nicholas Nassif.