Pyrotronics, the Anaheim fireworks company formerly owned by political corruption figure W. Patrick Moriarty, has filed a $2-million suit against eight former employees and a fireworks company they formed in Orange.
The suit, filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court, alleges that the eight workers stole secret client lists from Pyrotronics Corp. and asks that their new employer, Red Dragon Fireworks Co., be prevented from using those lists.
Dennis Doss, an attorney representing the former employees, called the charges "ridiculous" and "an attempt to intimidate the (former) employees and cast a false image to the customers." No lists were stolen, Doss said. He added that since fireworks retailers must register with government authorities, customer lists are available to any fireworks company.
Doss said the eight employees, seven former salesmen and an office manager, left Pyrotronics in September and formed Red Dragon. The employees do not own the new company and Doss declined to identify the owner.
In addition to a disagreement with Pyrotronics management, Doss said that the employees also wanted to "escape the Moriarty stigma."
Moriarty is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty earlier this year to participating in a scheme to bribe City of Commerce officials in an attempt to obtain a poker parlor license. He resigned as chairman of Pyrotronics earlier this year and sold his interest in the company to closely held International Fireworks Co. of America.
On Monday, a Pyrotronics official asked one of the eight employees to return to Pyrotronics, Doss said, promising a new Cadillac and an opportunity to "name your salary." Don Cribellone, chairman of Pyrotronics, declined comment and company lawyers did not return numerous phone calls on Tuesday.
Named as defendants in the suit are: Terry Bobb, Ralph Hargrove, his brother, William Hargrove, Ken Matthews, his cousin, Casey Matthews, James Savage, Emmett Joe Surber and James Voss.
Pyrotronics and Red Dragon sell fireworks to church and civic groups, who then retail them. Most the fireworks are made in Asia. Pyrotronics' products carry the Red Devil and Wildcat labels.