Ad man Heathcott sues CJRW for damages in ouster | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ad man Heathcott sues CJRW for damages in ouster

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 4:42 PM

GARY HEATHCOTT - ARKANSAS BUSINESS
  • Arkansas Business
  • GARY HEATHCOTT
Gary Heathcott the long-time ad and PR man who now lives in San Antonio, has sued CJRW, the big ad and PR firm based in Little Rock, over its severing of a consulting deal with him last year and asks $1.3 million in actual damages plus unspecified punitive damages.

We reported in 2017 on reporting by Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business on the rupture of a deal between CJRW and Heathcott, who was credited with bringing major state business — including the Arkansas Lottery and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission — to the firm. Heathcott had powerful state connections. He had handled advertising for Asa Hutchinson's  first run for governor in 2014. Heathcott issued a statement to Arkansas Times at the time.

Heathcott said then he'd sold his firm to CJRW in 2014 (the terms of that deal haven't been revealed) with an expectation of staying for only a short time as a consultant. But then he said he landed the $6 million Arkansas Healthcare Marketplace account for the firm. That led, he said to a five-year consulting contract with CJRW, eventually amended to be worth $234,000 a year for five years plus expenses, a bonus program and 10 percent commission on revenues credited to Heathcott. Details here. And here's the commission plan.

In his statement, Heathcott said he concluded that, once new contracts were in place, CJRW no longer needed him and decided to save the money by severing the agreement. CJRW didn't say, but Massey's article linked the action to "unprofessional comments" by Heathcott.

Heathcott's lawsuit, which you can read here, reveals more about events.

He says he was told in September 2017 by CJRW CEO Darin Gray to vacate his office because of "alleged complaints from employees." The Board of Directors terminated him in November for violating "methods and procedures" and the employee handbook.

Heathcott's suit says he was a consultant, not an employee, and knew nothing about the handbook. He contends he was told by the firm's director of human resources that there'd been no previous complaints about him and the firm never followed procedures required for complaints about him.

The suit alleges that, beginning in September, Gray or others acting for him solicited employees to make complaints of harassment against Heathcott and those who refused were threatened with retaliation.

The suit also alleges the defendant accessed Heathcott's computer and he later learned it had been infected with spyware so that others could monitor his computer activities. He alleges further that some paper and digital files he'd maintain in an office at CJRW were not returned to him.

The suit, in Judge Timothy Fox's court, alleges breach of contract and asks $1.3 million in compensation. He also asks punitive damages for "computer trespass." He also asks for an injunction ordering the return of files.

The suit seeks a jury trial. I've asked Darin Gray for a comment. The suit was filed today and a formal legal response has not been filed.

UPDATE: Mark Rains responded on behalf of Darin Gray:
"We do not provide response to potential or pending litigation.” 

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Beware of legislators bearing term limits

    Michael Wickline at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today reports on Sen. Alan Clark's grand plan to give Arkansas a different term limits amendment than the 10-year limit Arkansas Term Limits hopes to qualify for the 2020 ballot. Beware the fine print.
    • Mar 24, 2019
  • The open line, plus a food note

    Here's the open line, plus a neighborhood food note.
    • Mar 23, 2019
  • Little Rock prepares to commit to I-30 project, though its scope remains unclear

    Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott's take-charge approach surfaces this morning on a bigger issue than media policy — negotiations between the city and the Arkansas Department of Transportation on an agreement concerning the Big Concrete Ditch project through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Mar 23, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation