Getting hired as a senior financial executive at a bank holding company might well be impossible for someone with a criminal record.
Well, George Fort's lawyer says he has no such record. But his former employer claims he does.
In a procedural filing made earlier this month in Nashville's U.S. District Court, Tennessee Commerce Bank lodges that claim and others against Fort, its former chief financial officer, who sued after the bank fired him in 2008. Fort has claimed TCB retaliated against him for reporting unlawful conduct by bank officers to federal regulators.
"Evidence discovered of late," the filing says, shows that Fort engaged in a "history of misconduct, including obtaining employment with the bank under false pretenses as to his qualifications and fitness for employment, failure to disclose both by omission and by active misrepresentation concerning his criminal record, and a continuing history (after obtaining employment with the bank) of breaching his fiduciary duties of loyalty to the bank by competing with the bank during his employment...."
Kingsport attorney Don Mason represents Fort. NashvillePost.com asked him whether Fort had ever been charged with a crime and whether he had been competing with the bank while employed by it. Mason responded that "the allegations contained in the bank's Aug. 10 filing are false." He issued the following prepared statement:
"False allegations and smear tactics are not surprising when a large corporation seeks to silence the little guy. Mr. Fort's performance, as evidenced by his pay increases as the bank's CFO, was considered laudable by his superiors, Art Helf, the bank's former CEO, director and President Mike Sapp, and COO Lamar Cox. After Mr. Fort ‘blew the whistle' regarding significant internal financial control issues that the bank's auditors Kraft CPAs later confirmed as ‘consistent with fraud,' the bank's opinion of Mr. Fort changed.
"Mr. Fort's integrity was once again soundly confirmed by the recent United States Department of Labor determination which awarded him over $2 million in back pay, benefits, and stock options. It is unfortunate the bank continues to squander shareholder funds in defense of the U.S. Department of Labor's concise and accurate findings."
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS