A local man has taken to court a troubled litigation financing venture based out of Chicago, saying he is owed more than $400,000 in back pay after being unjustly fired.
Ben Goff, a Brentwood executive who spent 15 years at the former Primus subsidiary of Ford and has since been active in other financial services ventures, sued the principals of Brook-Hollow Capital in Williamson County Chancery Court last month. The case was moved recently to U.S. District Court.
In his complaint, Goff says he was approached by the leaders of what would become Brook-Hollow to help them build a company that would, for a fee, provide money to attorneys who are party to a structured settlement. Goff says Brian Michaels and B.J. Etscheid called on Goff in late 2010 to help them with strategic planning, fundraising and sales strategies for Brook-Hollow.
After repeated prods from Goff, the parties signed a three-year compensation package in May of 2011 that called for Goff to be president and CEO and to be paid a minimum of $180,000 per year and receive 10 percent of Brook-Hollow’s profits.
But the future would not be that bright. Last December, Goff was told via email that Brook-Hollow’s financing had run out and its leaders were “out of options.” Several weeks later, he was fired and sent a separation agreement that would have waived his contractual rights for $5,000.
Goff rebuffed that deal and now claims Michaels and Etscheid never intended to pay him for his work. (View the complaint here.) He is asking for at least $420,000, his cut of any profits Brook-Hollow has made or will make this year and next — somewhat unlikely given what the company’s incomplete website suggests about its state of affairs — as well as punitive damages and costs.
Goff is being represented by Joseph Kelly and William Helou of the downtown office of Frost Brown Todd. Brook-Hollow is being represented locally by Stuart Burkhalter and Greg Reynolds of Riley Warnock & Jacobson; they were recently granted an extension until Aug. 6 to file an answer to Goff’s complaint. Neither responded to requests for comment on the status of the case.