SEATTLE — Brett Green, former area vice president of Legacy Group Lending, filed a lawsuit Oct. 7 claiming that Legacy president Scott Rerucha fired Green without just cause, failed to pay Green the salary and profits he had earned under their employment contract and then engaged in a systematic campaign to defame Green within the Kitsap County business community so that he could not compete with Legacy in the future.
Legacy hired Green in late 2007 to open a branch office in Silverdale, Wash. According to the complaint, Rerucha specifically sought out Green because of his expertise in the mortgage industry and his extensive contacts throughout Kitsap County to help Legacy expand its Bellevue-based business to the Olympic Peninsula.
In addition to recruiting and hiring staff for an office in Silverdale, Green was assigned to manage the Puyallup office and also open an office in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The complaint states that the Puyallup office had a troubled history, and that Green's task was to "fix it and make it profitable." Among the problems mentioned in the complaint was an investigation by the state Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) regarding unlicensed employees originating loans. The complaint goes on to say that Green believed that Legacy's management had misled DFI and that he clearly made this position known to Rerucha and others.
On May 15, 2009, after the Silverdale branch was firmly established, the complaint alleges, Rerucha not only summarily fired Green without cause but went on to systematically dismantle Green's reputation so that he would pose no competitive threat in the future.
"Brett Green had been a successful and highly paid professional in the mortgage industry with extensive contacts and the ability to build a profitable book of business," said Green's attorney, Gregory Murphy. "Once Mr. Green got the Silverdale office up and running, he had outlived his usefulness to the company. Rather than share the profits with him, as promised, they fired him - and then set out to make sure he would not be able to use his skills and connections to build a successful business for anyone else."
The complaint cites several incidents that were allegedly intended to humiliate Green.
According to the lawsuit, Legacy had agreed to pay Green a share of the profits of the Silverdale office in addition to his agreed-upon salary. The complaint alleges that Legacy refused to pay Green the salary to which he was entitled following his termination, and further that the timing of Green's termination — shortly after the Silverdale office became profitable — was specifically so that Legacy could avoid paying him a share of the profits.
Since 1986, Murphy has represented individuals and businesses in various types of civil litigation, including labor and employment, personal injury and business disputes.