The dismissed former CEO of the AMA filed new charges today against the group, accusing it of retaliatory discharge and destroying evidence related to the AMA's aborted endorsement of products in exchange for money and sale of property allegedly below market value.
E. Ratcliffe Anderson, M.D., who was terminated as CEO and executive vice president of the AMA almost two years ago, today filed an amended complaint to his 2001 lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago.
Anderson "blew the whistle" on the board and top officials of the AMA before he was discharged, according to a statement released today by his lawyer, Charles Pautsch.
Anderson, it states, is accusing the officials of "unscrupulous dealings" in endorsements of Sunbeam consumer products, which were later rescinded at a cost of millions of dollars to the AMA, and the sale of AMA property in Chicago.
In a statement also released today, the AMA says the amended complaint is "entirely without merit."
"The charges in that pleading have no basis whatsoever in fact," the AMA statement continues. "The AMA will continue to be vigilant in its defense and remains confident that all claims in the case will be resolved in the AMA's favor."
Anderson filed his original lawsuit against the AMA in June 2001, 10 days before he was discharged. A release at the time from the AMA board called the lawsuit "frivolous" and charged Anderson with making "significant monetary demands on the board" before the lawsuit was filed.
The new complaint charges that the AMA destroyed back-up tapes of e-mails that could have been used in the case at a time when Anderson's lawyers are collecting evidence.
The complaint also reiterates charges that the board had prior knowledge of the Sunbeam deal, which took place before Anderson was hired. It says the board stopped Anderson from firing an AMA attorney who allegedly had knowledge of the board's role. The AMA later cancelled the deal at a loss of millions of dollars.
The complaint states that while AMA board members claimed in court that they had no knowledge of the Sunbeam deal, each of them had received a memorandum about it before the deal was signed. But an internal investigation co-authored by former AMA attorney Mike Ile concluded that the board had no knowledge.
The complaint also notes that later the board barred Anderson from firing Ile for overseeing the sale of AMA property at below market value. It says Ile oversaw sale of a city block of land where the former AMA headquarters stood at a price as much as $13.5 million below estimates of its value.