Less than a month after leaving her post, the former CFO of Debut Broadcasting has sued a Music Row radio company and its CEO in an effort to collect months of unpaid compensation and to seek the ouster of the company’s only board member.
Sariah Hopkins on Tuesday sued Debut Broadcasting Corp. and its CEO Ron Heineman in Davidson County Circuit Court, accusing the company — from which she resigned Feb. 14 — of breach of contract and fiduciary violations which resulted, the complaint states, in a steep slide in the company's fortunes. In the complaint, she says the company paid her no compensation from July 2007 through her date of resignation.
Hopkins, whose contract called for her to be paid $125,000 a year, also is asking the court to remove Heineman from the company’s board due to his alleged mismanagement and violation of his fiduciary duties. The complaint details a series of failed radio station purchases and sales, all subsequently lowering Debut’s stock value (Ticker: DBTB). According to the complaint, Hopkins owns 2.5 million shares, which are worth $20,000.
Hopkins is being represented by G. Kline Preston IV of the Kline Preston Law Group in Nashville. Preston said Hopkins’ wanting the court to remove Heineman from Debut’s board is uncommon but not without some precedent, since the request is within the equitable authority of the circuit court.
“We are a little more aggressive than most lawyers,” Preston said.
Efforts to contact Heineman or others at Debut's corporate offices were not successful.
Hopkins is seeking at least $383,400 in damages and wants Heineman banned from serving on the company’s board for a minimum of five years.
Debut’s website indicates the company sells prerecorded programs to an estimated 1,400 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. Things were looking rosier for the company not that long ago. In March 2011, it launched three new national shows. Click here for NashvillePost.com's coverage of that endeavor.