Conservative radio talk show personality Glenn Beck is suing the former CEO of his network, TheBlaze. According to Law Newz, Mercury Radio Arts Inc., Beck’s production company, has filed a lawsuit against Christopher Balfe, CEO of TheBlaze from 2009 to 2014.
Balfe is accused of breach of contract, general mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud while he was MRA’s chief operating officer and TheBlaze’s chief executive officer. Balfe was paid more than $13 million in salary and benefits during the five years he led the company.
Beck’s attorney, Eliot Burriss, wrote in the lawsuit, “This is a shockingly excessive amount that far exceeds appropriate compensation for companies of Mercury and TheBlaze’s size and financial performance.” He said Balfe never submitted his compensation to MRA’s board of directors.
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The complaint accuses Balfe of “fraudulently causing Mercury to sign an unnecessary lease thereby taking on a $20 million liability,” when, under Balfe’s leadership, the company acquired costly office space. The company leases the entire 12th floor of the Five Bryant Park office building in Manhattan, N.Y.
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) August 1, 2016
Balfe left MRA and TheBlaze and started a new company called Red Seat Ventures, but then hired former employees of TheBlaze, a violation of his noncompete agreement, the lawsuit alleges. As a result, the company is seeking to recover all monies paid to Balfe.
The news of the lawsuit comes amid reports TheBlaze is millions of dollars in debt.
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In a statement to supporters Monday, Beck wrote, “You have all heard me over the last couple of years describing how hard a time it has been. Between being sick, turning over my company, etc. … It culminates in a lawsuit that we filed Friday in Dallas between MRA and the former President. I am embarrassed and saddened it has come to this. It is an ongoing legal matter so you will not hear me speak of this often but as always, I want you to hear it from me.”
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