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Ex-Chairman of Sun S & L Files $30-Million Lawsuit

November 27, 1985|BILL RITTER | San Diego County Business Editor

SAN DIEGO — Ousted Sun Savings & Loan Assn. Chairman Daniel W. Dierdorff on Tuesday filed a $30-million counter lawsuit against Sun, alleging breach of contract and accusing the company of discrediting him through "leaks" to the press and federal regulators.

Dierdorff, in documents filed in San Diego Superior Court, also denied the allegations of fraud and misconduct lodged against him in a lawsuit filed by Sun last month.

Dierdorff's wife, Mary, who was also named in the Sun suit, filed her own cross-complaint against Sun, asking for $5 million in punitive damages and an undetermined amount of compensatory damages.

In mid-1984, Dierdorff alleged, Sun began a "campaign to discredit" him through a series of "carefully timed leaks of inside information" to local and national newspapers. The actions violated his employment agreement, Dierdorff claimed, by breaching an "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing."

Dierdorff alleged that a confidential report that purportedly detailed his financial improprieties was "leaked" to various newspapers, including The Times, and was given to officials of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

The lawsuit does not allege that it was Sun or any other particular entity which leaked the report, but merely claims that the report, which was prepared by an outside law firm, "was made available" to the press.

Dierdorff also claimed that Sun tried to discredit him by disclosing in July that the U.S. attorney's office had commenced an investigation of Dierdorff and his alleged financial improprieties.

Sun President and Chief Executive John McEwan said he would not comment on the lawsuit because he had not yet seen the filing. However, McEwan said he announced the federal investigation and reported that Sun was cooperating fully with prosecutors because such a "material issue" is required to be disclosed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The investigation, Dierdorff claimed in his suit, had been "proceeding in secret to avoid discrediting Dierdorff. . . ."

Since then, the case has been presented to a federal grand jury, although no charges have to date been filed.

Dierdorff would not comment on his lawsuit, which seeks at least $10 million in damages for loss of future earning potential and $20 million in punitive damages.

In his filing, Dierdorff claimed that his Oct. 22, 1984, resignation agreement with Sun prohibited the company from filing some of the allegations contained in Sun's lawsuit.

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