Minnesota businessman Irwin Jacobs says he was defamed by a fired Wal-Mart executive's claim that Lee Scott, chief executive of the retail giant, accepted favors and services from the Minnesota entrepreneur.
Jacobs, owner of Wal-Mart supplier Jacobs Trading, filed a lawsuit Friday in Benton County Circuit Court against fired Wal-Mart executive Julie Roehm. Jacobs' suit claims that, in a court filing she made as part of her suit against the company, she published false and defamatory statements about the relationship of Jacobs' company with the retailer.
In May, Roehm claimed in a court filing that Scott violated the company's ethics policy and accepted trips and received discounts on yachts and jewelry from Jacobs. She said in the filing in U.S. District Court in Detroit that Scott and his wife frequently used private airplanes provided by Jacobs to travel to their residences in Longboat Key, Fla., and Las Vegas. Through his relationship with Jacobs, Scott was able to purchase a large pink diamond for his wife at a preferential price, she claims.
Jacobs flatly denied all of Roehm's claims, including her accusation that he gave Scott a discount on a diamond.
"If he owns a diamond ring, he didn't get it from me," said Jacobs, noting that none of his businesses have anything to do with diamonds. As for airfare, Jacobs vowed that he doesn't own a plane, and never chartered a plane for Scott and his wife.
Jacobs had given Roehm a Thursday deadline to issue a retraction of her claims involving him. The retraction wasn't made, so Jacobs filed suit in Benton County Circuit Court against Roehm; her attorneys, Sam Morgan and Andrew Rifkin; and two Michigan law firms.
Jacobs' suit seeks an injunction to prevent Roehm and her attorneys from continuing to make false and defamatory statements about him. He also seeks a court order forcing Roehm and her attorneys to work with Jacobs to retract the statements.
Roehm's suit, filed after she was fired last year, seeks $1.5 million she claims Wal-Mart owes her.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)