Maine Credit Union Fires, Sues CEO Over Expenses
Infinity Federal Credit Union has fired its CEO and filed a civil lawsuit amid accusations of an expense account gone wild.
Kenneth William served as president/CEO at the $268 million Infinity in Westbrook, Maine, from 1990 to Sept. 9, 2013, when his employment was terminated after an audit determined he was not submitting expense receipts in accordance with policy, the complaint said.
Sandra Cloutier, the credit union’s vice president of operations, had been named acting president, the credit union said.
Williams, who had worked at Infinity for 30 years, is accused of conversion of funds, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud for allegedly using his corporate credit card, vehicle and toll pass, along with a storage unit rented by the credit union, for personal use, the complaint said.
Williams’ $66,000 corporate credit card tab included 1,200 transactions in two years, including a total of more than $11,000 at BJ's Wholesale Club, more than $10,000 at gas stations, and purchases at marine/nautical stores and in Nevada, according to court documents, and Infinity FCU contends that “a substantial portion of those expenditures” were for personal use.
“For years, Mr. Williams has treated funds and other property of the credit union as if it was his own, using his corporate credit card to pay thousands of dollars of personal expenses, using his corporate vehicle for personal use, and arranging to have the credit union rent storage space for his personal use,” the complaint said.
Williams, meanwhile, contends the lawsuit is retaliation for an age-discrimination complaint he filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission before his dismissal, according to a Nov. 27 article in the Portland Press Herald.
"Mr. Williams will deny all the claims and aggressively counter the action that's been taken," Timothy O'Brien, an attorney representing Williams, told the Press Herald.
O’Brien said Williams’ expenses were reviewed and approved by another credit union administrator, and he questioned whether the audit had been conducted because his client, who is 70, had previously filed an age discrimination and whistleblower complaint against the credit union.
Messages left for Timothy O’Brien with the law firm of Libby O’Brien Kingsley & Champion, LLC in Kennebunk, Maine, were not returned.
The Maine Human Rights Commission told the Credit Union Times this week that complaints are confidential until an investigator’s report is issued so the agency would not confirm whether a complaint filed by Williams is under investigation.
Melissa Hewey, an attorney with Drummond Woodsum in Portland, Maine, which is representing the credit union, told the Credit Union Times this week that Infinity FCU denies any wrongdoing.
“Complaints before the Maine Human Rights Commission are confidential until they appear on the Commission’s agenda so I cannot comment on whether or not a complaint is pending before the Maine Human Rights Commission,” she said. “What I can say, however, is that the sole reason that the Infinity Federal Credit Union filed the lawsuit was the information that came to light during the audit referenced in the complaint.”
According to the civil lawsuit filed against Williams, Infinity FCU engaged a third-party consulting firm in March 2013 to conduct an internal audit, including reviewing corporate credit card statements for the prior 24 months.
During those two years, Williams made approximately 1,200 purchases, but provided receipts for only 18 expenditures, the complaint said.
In addition, Williams allegedly kept personal items in a storage unit that the credit union had rented for six years at the cost of $184, the complaint said.
Infinity, which is seeking to recover misappropriated funds and other unspecified damages, is conducting an internal review to determine the exact amount that Williams spent for personal use, Hewey said.
“It’s going to be a long, tedious process to figure out what happened,” Hewey added.