HealthSouth accused ousted Chief Executive Richard Scrushy of trying to "pillage" the company of more than $100 million in court papers...
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — HealthSouth accused ousted Chief Executive Richard Scrushy of trying to “pillage” the company of more than $100 million in court papers filed Wednesday and said he isn’t due anything for his firing.
Responding to a state court suit filed earlier this month by Scrushy, the rehabilitation chain said in a counterclaim that Scrushy was responsible for a massive earnings overstatement that nearly drove it to ruin.
A jury acquitted Scrushy of criminal charges earlier this year. Scrushy claimed he was duped by top aides and middle managers who pleaded guilty in the fraud.
But in a court document, HealthSouth said Scrushy hatched the plot to make it appear HealthSouth was meeting Wall Street estimates and then “profited hugely” by selling more than $200 million in HealthSouth shares and drawing millions more in salary, bonuses and options.
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Now, the company said, Scrushy is wrongly seeking more than $100 million in compensation related to his firing.
In the countersuit, HealthSouth sought an unspecified amount from Scrushy and said his last employment contract, from 2002, was invalid.
Scrushy spokesman Charlie Russell called the countersuit “routine” but said he had not seen the claim and was unfamiliar with details.
Scrushy was HealthSouth’s primary founder more than 20 years ago, but he was removed as chief executive in 2003 after the government filed suit alleging he directed what prosecutors referred to as a $2.7 billion fraud.
HealthSouth will hold its first shareholder meeting in about three years today at its headquarters.
Directors plan to elect a new board that does not include Scrushy, who refused repeated calls for his resignation before stepping down as a director earlier this month.
Russell said Wednesday that Scrushy has voted and does not plan to attend the meeting or be officially represented there.