Ex-employer sues Baltimore Co. delegate, claiming he redirected sales commissions Redmer denies allegations, says he is being harassed

October 23, 1997|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

A state lawmaker is accused of unethical and illegal business practices in a lawsuit filed against him by his former employer.

Del. Alfred W. Redmer Jr., a Baltimore County Republican, is accused of illegally redirecting an unspecified amount of sales commissions from his former employer, Client First Brokerage Services Inc., to his insurance company, according to court documents.

In the suit, Redmer also is charged with misappropriating confidential business records -- and with using the records to lure his former employer's brokers to his new employer, the Mather Cos.

In each of the four counts in the suit, Client First seeks $500,000 in damages. The company, a Hunt Valley insurance brokerage, also is asking for an injunction to prevent Redmer from soliciting Client First customers.

Redmer, who has represented Perry Hall in the General Assembly since 1991 and was Client First's chief executive officer until last year, denied the allegations this week, and said Client First officials are using the legal system to harass him.

"I'm starting to feel like a spouse being stalked after a breakup," Redmer said. "It's just sad that they're more interested in my business than they are in their business."

The suit, filed Oct. 6 in Baltimore County Circuit Court, is the latest round in a bitter business divorce between Redmer and Client First.

The dispute began last year when Redmer, a founding member and stockholder of Client First, left the brokerage. Company officials said they requested his resignation as chief executive officer amid claims that he had acted against the interests of the company and its clients.

Rodger A. Bayne, chairman of the Client First board, has said Redmer came under scrutiny after he urged the company to buy Landmark Financial Group, an Eastern Shore insurance agency. Client First officials believed that Redmer acquired part of Landmark after his proposal was rejected.

Bayne said Client First officials rejected the proposal because they did not want to own an agency that might compete with their existing clients.

In a financial disclosure form filed with the state ethics commission, Redmer said he owned 25 percent of Landmark. But Redmer said that while he had expected to own part of the company when he filled out the disclosure form, the deal was never completed, and he has never owned any part of the company.

In January, Client First sued Redmer in Baltimore County District Court, demanding that Redmer surrender company-owned computer equipment and files. Bayne asked a legislative ethics commission to decide whether Redmer inappropriately noted his position in the House in a letter written under the letterhead of his new employer.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics said the matter would be reviewed, but that no formal action would be taken while the litigation continued.

In two hearings last summer, a judge ordered Redmer to surrender records printed from Client First's computer system -- providing more evidence for the suit filed this month by Client First, Bayne said.

"We believe that the corporation had been done considerable damage," Bayne said. "After months of communication with Redmer and asking him to provide just remedy, he continued to fail to do so, and he left us no option but to pursue a legal avenue for a remedy."

Pub Date: 10/23/97

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