Ex-Wal-Mart Exec Surrenders To Wal-Mart

 
 
By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2007-11-04
 
 
 
Julie Roehm, the onetime Wal-Mart marketing chief who said she was improperly fired and counter-charged that Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott extorts discounts from suppliers, issued a statement late Friday that she was giving up.

In her statement, which is now a leading contender for the "What did you expect would happen?" awards, Roehm said: "The sole purpose for filing the lawsuit was to recover the severance pay that was outlined in that contract. I thought that a settlement agreement would be reached within a few weeks. Instead, the lawsuit has expanded into other issues and has become more difficult and financially draining than I ever imagined."

Roehm's statement said that her decision was influenced by discovery information from Wal-Mart and a key supplier—Irwin Jacobs—which she said, "explained the inaccuracy of certain allegations included in her legal filing, specifically allegations about Lee Scott and Mr. Jacobs."

To read about why Wal-Mart has shut down its online call center, click here.

This lawsuit was unusual, both in the seemingly minor nature of some of the infractions alleged, such as that Roehm accepted an ad agency's dinner that Wal-Mart said, "consisted of small, White Castle-sized burgers"—and the vehemence of the denials.

For example, supplier Jacobs counter-sued Roehm, who had accused him of giving the Wal-Mart CEO a diamond ring and free trips on his private airplane. "If he owns a diamond ring, he didn't get it from me," said Jacobs, noting that none of his businesses have anything to do with diamonds. As for airfare, Jacobs vowed that he doesn't own a plane, and never chartered a plane for Scott and his wife.

This summer, a Michigan judge dismissed Roehm's lawsuit against Wal-Mart on a technicality, namely that her employment contract required that such a lawsuit had to be filed in Arkansas. Her Friday statement said that she had decided to not re-file her lawsuit. “I have decided to accept Wal-Mart's decision to terminate my employment and move on. I am not receiving any money or other compensation to settle my case."

Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Evan.Schuman@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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