MANHATTAN (CN) – The former president and CEO of “TV Guide” claims he was forced to resign from his $900,000 job after the publication’s parent company breached his employment agreement by pressing for his signature on a contract that would “almost certainly drive the business … into insolvency.”
J. Scott Crystal claims that co-defendant OpenGate Capital Group sought a contract wherein TV Guide would pay $180,000 a month for purported consulting services from Open Publishing LLC – the magazine’s parent company, owned by OpenGate – which “were not requested and were not needed.”
After informing OpenGate partners that he would not sign its document, Crystal claims, he received a revised consulting agreement executed on behalf of TV Guide that replaced Crystal’s name with Andrew Nikou, an OpenGate partner.
When Crystal protested, he says, Nikou said that it was “not open to discussion or debate, case closed.”
Crystal says he followed up with a security measure that required his personal signature on all TV Guide checks of $50,000 or more, thwarting the monthly payment of consulting fees.
He says OpenGate partners balked, and told him that TV Guide’s financial resources would be stripped from him and shifted to OpenGate, “effective immediately.”
When OpenGate reduced Crystal’s authority and failed to cure their breach of his employment agreement, Crystal says, he had no choice but to resign.
Crystal’s claim in New York County Court states that he had a 3-year contract that promised him $897,000 a year in base salary for the first 2 years, and $941,850 in the third year.
Crystal, who is represented by J. Vincent Reppert with Reppert Kelly, seeks lost salary and benefits owed, equaling $2.6 million.