Omnicom Sued For Wrongful Termination, Charged With Violating Sarbanes-Oxley

Veteran sports media executive Ray Katz has sued Omnicom, its OMD and Optimum Sports subsidiaries and the former CFO of those units, Mark Amabile, for discrimination, wrongful termination and fraud in connection with his being laid off from his post as managing director at Optimum Sports in late 2009. Katz is seeking a minimum of $3 million plus attorney’s fees and other costs, according to court papers filed in New York State Supreme Court earlier this month.

 

Katz, a former NFL marketing executive and former CMO of The Football Network, worked at OMD’s Optimum Sports unit for a little over five years. The last year he was promoted to managing director, overseeing sports sponsorships and related activities alongside Tom McGovern, also managing director, who oversaw sports media planning and buying. 

 

Katz alleges he was discriminated against on the basis of this age (he turned 50 while at Optimum);  his religion (Judaism) and his marital status (single). He also alleges that Omnicom and its subsidiaries engaged in accounting fraud in violation of the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

 

Katz also charged that he was fraudulently induced into taking the managing director position, which he claims he was assured would be a permanent post, only to be laid off a little more than a year later.

 

Katz alleges that Amabile pressured him to make efforts--with company resources--to find sponsors for Diamond Nation, a New Jersey baseball camp that Amabile’s son attended. Katz alleged that Amabile was attempting to “curry favor with the camp and its college coaches,” in a bid to get his son a college baseball scholarship.

 

The Katz filing stated that Katz and his team’s time was better spent pursuing work for bigger clients who actually paid for service provided by Optimum Sports like State Farm and Visa. While he resisted Amabile’s pressure to do gratis work for the baseball camp, Katz said his team still devoted “several hundred hours of senior staff time” to it. But he alleged that Amabile had it out for him when he resisted. That motivation, Katz said, was a factor in what he alleged was his wrongful termination.

 

Katz also accused Amabile of directly discriminating against him by “repeatedly” questioning his marital status, “further commenting that plaintiff ‘must be homosexual if he is not married at his age.’”

 

Katz also alleged that his age “was a primary reason that his position was eliminated.” After his departure, the court filing states, Katz’s duties “were reassigned to younger employees and/or filled by younger employees hired by defendants after his termination.”

 

Katz also alleged anti-Semitic behavior and attitudes at the Omnicom companies, such as the “mistreatment of Jewish persons employed by the defendants,” including one colleague “who was an excellent performer  and in fac [was]  forced out by other non-Jewish senior executives.”

 

On the Sarbanes-Oxley issue, Katz charged that the company “on more than one occasion” attributed revenue generated by his department to other Omnicom subsidiaries in direct violation of the Act. 

 

Shortly after his position was eliminated, Katz was named president of The Leverage Agency, a post he held for about two years. He is now a managing partner at sports marketing  firm Source1 Sports.

Recommend (6) Print RSS
  • Mississippi Attorney General Seeks Temporary Truce With Google

    Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said on Friday that he wants to pause an escalating dispute with Google regarding the company's search results. “I am calling a time out, so that cooler heads may prevail,” he said in a statement issued on Friday. Hood's statement came several hours after Google ...
  • Google Seeks Restraining Order Against Mississippi Attorney General

    Google on Friday asked a federal judge to prohibit Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood from following through on a threat to sue the company for enabling Web users to access “illegal” content. Google also is asking for an injunction prohibiting Hood from enforcing a subpoena demanding information relating to outside ...
  • Deutsch L.A. Settles FTC Charges That Employees Posed As Consumers On Twitter

    Deutsch L.A. engaged in a deceptive practice with an ad campaign that involved asking employees to promote Sony's PlayStation Vita on Twitter, the Federal Trade Commission alleged in a complaint unveiled on Tuesday. The resulting Twitter posts, which ran in 2012 and carried the hashtag #gamechanger, allegedly didn't indicate they ...
  • Aereo Declares Bankruptcy

    Online video distributor Aereo, which suspended operations three days after its Supreme Court defeat in June, said on Friday that it filed for bankrputcy. CEO Chet Kanojia says in a post on the company's blog that the move “will permit Aereo to maximize the value of its business and assets ...
  • Tom Noble Moves From BMW Australia To Oversee Mini U.S.A. Marketing .

    Mini U.S.A. has tapped Tom Noble, a marketer at BMW Australia, as department head, Mini Brand Communications. Noble, who will handle all brand positioning duties for Mini in the U.S. at the company's U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., replaces Tom Salkowsky, who was shifted overseas to be department head, ...
  • Sources: Steve Shannon Out As Top Hyundai Motor America Marketer

    Sources close to the company say Steve Shannon, VP marketing, is departing Hyundai Motor America. No confirmation from HMA or Shannon just yet. The General Motors alumnus, who tied up his 25 years at GM as marketing chief at Cadillac, was hired by the Orange Country, CA-based marketer in 2011. ...
  • Appeals Court To Reconsider 'Innocence Of Muslims' Takedown Order

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said today that it will reconsider whether to order Google to remove the clip 'Innoncence of Muslims' from YouTube. The court also said that the original opinion in the case, issued in February by a three-judge, won't serve as precedent within the 9th Circuit. ...
  • Obama Urges FCC To Classify Broadband As Utility

    In his strongest statement this year on net neutrality, President Barack Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband service as a utility. Doing so would allow the FCC to impose the same kinds of common carrier rules that require telephone companies to put through all calls. “The ...
  • Nissan Taps Hatami To VP Sales, U.S.

    Nissan has named Derrick Hatami to VP, sales, for the U.S., reporting to Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Parts & Service U.S.A. Effective Jan. 13, Hatami will lead the Nissan divisional sales and vehicle operations, light commercial vehicle and fleet functions. Hatami will be accountable for ...
  • Paul Edwards, Chevrolet's New VP Marketing

    Chevrolet has appointed Paul Edwards as new U.S. VP, Chevrolet marketing, replacing Chris Perry, who resigned last month. Edwards will report to Chevrolet Global Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney, effective immediately. He has been executive director of General Motors’ Global Marketing since 2010, responsible for global media operations, agency management, ...
>> Raw Archives