Barnes & Noble was on the cusp of being sold to another book retailer in June before the deal fell through, it has been revealed.
The information transpired after B&N’s former c.e.o. Demos Parneros filed a lawsuit yesterday (28th August) charging his former employer with breach of contract and defamation of character after he was fired in July.
According to Publishers Weekly, the charge filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York suggests Parneros’ relationship with B&N chairman Len Riggio took a turn for the worst after the book retailer withdrew its offer to buy the chain after completing due diligence. The name of the bidder has not been released.
As well as containing a number of “unflattering” revelations about how the company operates, the suit also alleges Riggio “became hostile to Parneros” after the deal fell through and stopped communicating with him.
Parneros was sacked for “violations of the company’s policies” after just 15 months in role, continuing the trend of fast turnovers of chief executives continues at the beleaguered US chain and Parneros is claiming that the current political and employment environment meant the public assumed he had been fired after allegations of sexual harassment, which he says was not the case.
As well as hoping to clear his name, Parneros is asking for severance of over $4 million for being dismissed without cause, as well damages for loss of potential earnings, mental anguish and other punitive damages.
The B&N board rejecting the charges and calling the suit “nothing but an attempt to extort money from the company by a c.e.o. who was terminated for sexual harassment, bullying behaviour and other violations of company policies after being in the role for approximately one year.”