DALLAS — Ronald E. Johnson, the veteran grocery executive who spent 18 months as chief executive officer of Minyard Food Stores here, is suing the company for $600,000, claiming breach of contract and a “libel suit that's growing every day,” his lawyer, David J. Sacks of Houston, told SN last week.
Minyard's owners disagree, and in a countersuit claim Johnson wasted millions in company resources by employing cronies and taking kickbacks, among other things.
Johnson was hired as CEO of Minyard shortly after the chain was sold to local investors in 2004, but he left the company last May.
His suit against Renegade Swish — Minyard's owner and a division of hedge fund Q Investments — argues he is owed $200,000 in accordance with his contract, as well as a bonus related to work Johnson had completed toward the sale of Minyard's warehouse. The complaint added that Johnson was defamed by Minyard's owners following his firing last year when the company's new CEO, Michael Byers, sent an email to 118 employees implying that Johnson was terminated for ethics violations.
Minyard's response claims Johnson was fired for soliciting tickets to the NBA finals from company vendors in violation of company policy. It further alleged the CEO “help[ed] his friends and family loot the company,” costing it $12.3 million in overall damages overall, including a claim that Johnson wrecked a company car.