Less than a month after he was discharged as Helionetics Inc.'s president following the company's bankruptcy filing, Michael Mann has filed a $30-million lawsuit charging company insiders with fraud, racketeering, breach of contract, wrongful termination and defamation.
Named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, were Helionetics' chairman, John Shelton; its newly installed president, William Duke, and Bernard Katz, the company's largest single shareholder and a former director. Also named were Franklin Desser, the company's legal counsel; directors Raymond Freed and H. Alfred Sklar, and former director Rodger Molvar.
Company officials would not comment Tuesday, saying that they had not yet been served with the suit. Mann also declined to comment.
So-called racketeering suits have become fairly common, largely because a successful plaintiff can collect treble damages but also because of the stigma attached to an allegation of racketeering--which is defined as an organized effort to violate the law.