Fired partner sues accounting firm

December 16, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

The former managing partner of Ellin & Tucker, Chartered,

TC prominent Baltimore accounting firm, has sued his former partners for $2 million and is asking a court to dissolve the firm.

Bennett H. Goldstein, 45, who was managing partner at Ellin & Tucker from 1979 until October 1992, alleges in a suit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court this month that the other shareholders in the firm kicked him out last August when he was suffering emotional problems after a divorce.

The partners then refused to pay Mr. Goldstein for his 100 shares of Ellin & Tucker stock, as the shareholders' agreement required, the suit says. There are a total of 800 shares. Mr. Goldstein's attorney, Andrew Radding, declined to comment on the estimated value of those shares.

Because of those alleged actions, Mr. Goldstein seeks $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages, plus the value of his shares, "one of his most significant assets," the lawsuit notes.

Further, because they failed to pay Mr. Goldstein for his stock, Ellin & Tucker "has demonstrated it is unable to meet its debts as they mature in the ordinary course of business," the suit claims. Mr. Goldstein is asking that the firm be dissolved and liquidated under the supervision of a court-appointed receiver.

Ellin & Tucker has about 40 certified public accountants, making it among the city's largest locally based accounting firms.

Mr. Goldstein, who now works at the Baltimore office of Grant Thornton, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Ellin & Tucker President Edwin R. Brake also declined to talk about the suit, referring questions to the firm's attorney, Edward Gutman.

"There is no basis to this lawsuit, none whatsoever," Mr. Gutman said. He said Mr. Goldstein and Ellin & Tucker have "an honest dispute" over the value of the shares.

"We had extended an offer," which Mr. Goldstein rejected, Mr. Gutman explained, adding that the firm plans to request arbitration this week to resolve the dispute, as the shareholders' agreement requires.

The trouble started, according to the complaint, in April when Mr. Goldstein "was experiencing personal problems as an outgrowth of the breakup of his marriage." In July Mr. Brake told Mr. Goldstein to take a month off to receive treatment for his problems, the lawsuit states.

Mr. Goldstein received treatment and returned to work Aug. 2, and a few days later left for a previously planned vacation. When he came back Aug. 16, he was told to leave the building because he was fired, according to the suit.

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