Conservative TV and radio host Glenn beck is suing Chris Balfe, the former CEO who used to run his news network The Blaze and helped grow Beck’s empire, according to LawNewz.com.
Balfe is accused of breach of contract, general mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud, according to the lawsuit.
Beck’s production and operating company, Mercury Radio Arts, filed the July 29 complaint which accuses Balfe of being a “terrible executive” who caused “substantial harm” through “deliberate mismanagement.”
Beck posted the following message on his website Monday:
You have all heard me over the last couple of years describing how hard a time it has been.
Between being sick, turning over my company, etc … It culminates in a lawsuit that we filed Friday in Dallas between MRA and the former President.
I am embarrassed and saddened it has come to this.
It is an ongoing legal matter so you will not hear me speak of this often but as always, I want you to hear it from me.
Balfe, who worked for Beck for more than 10 years, was COO of Mercury Radio Arts and CEO of The Blaze until he left in December 2014 to launch Red Seat Ventures, a digital media company. According to legal documents posted online by LawNewz.com, Balfe had been paid more than $13 million between 2009 and 2014.
“This is a shockingly excessive amount that far exceeds appropriate compensation for companies of Mercury and TheBlaze’s size and financial performance,” wrote Eliot Burriss, an attorney for Beck, in the complaint. Burriss claimed Balfe failed to submit his executive compensation to the Mercury Radio Arts board of directors.
The lawsuit also accuses Balfe of “fraudulently causing Mercury to sign an unnecessary lease thereby taking on a $20 million liability.”
Mercury Radio Arts reportedly holds a lease for the 12th floor in Five Bryant Park in Manhattan. The lawsuit claims Balfe “caused Mercury to sign the lease” and his “insistence that Mercury sign the lease was motivated by his own self-interest.”
The complaint also charges Balfe broke an agreement that banned him from competing with The Blaze or hiring its employees for three years.
Four employees now listed on the Red Seat Ventures website moved to the company from Mercury Radio Arts or the Blaze, according to LawNewz.com
In April, the Daily Beast reported The Blaze and Mercury Radio Arts laid off dozens of employees due to financial struggles.