Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lynn Tilton Is Suing a Private Jet Pilot Who Left Her Company

SEC-beating New York financier says man broke his contract

Dennis Pratte claimed in email to have safety concerns

(Bloomberg) -- New York financier Lynn Tilton is suing a former personal jet pilot who left her company amid concerns over safety, seeking to recapture training expenses.

Tilton’s company Patriarch Partners LLC filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court accusing Dennis Pratte of breaching the terms of his contract. Pratte, who flew a Gulfstream G280, sent a note to his supervisor saying he intended to look for another job just six months after he began working for Tilton in June, according to the complaint.

"The company has great employees, fabulous aircraft, and the pay is above industry norms," Pratte said in a Jan. 2 email included in the complaint. "However, when it comes to operational safety of the passengers, aircraft, and crew, you and I have separate and distinct ideologies on how best to ensure we are operating at the highest levels of safety."

Tilton opted to accept his resignation immediately, compelling him to pay back more than $64,000 in training costs. Pratte hasn’t reimbursed the expenses, and tried to "shake down Patriarch with a bogus retaliation claiming," alleging he had been fired for reporting safety concerns, according to the complaint.

The nature of the safety concerns wasn’t included in the suit.

The company also alleged he had been keeping confidential materials and surreptitiously recording conversations with other employees.

"This suit seeks to hold defendant Dennis Pratte to his unambiguous obligation to reimburse Patriarch for substantial pilot training expenses that the company advanced for his benefit and that he agreed to repay if he left Patriarch within his first year," according to the complaint.

Pratte couldn’t immediately be located for comment. A representative for Patriarch Partners didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The claim in one of many legal fights for Tilton, whose company specializes in investing in and turning around distressed businesses. She put her Zohar III Corp. funds into bankruptcy earlier this month to block lawsuits from a bond insurer she claimed "cast a cloud" over her plans.

In September, Tilton defeated an SEC lawsuit after an administrative judge said the agency failed to prove that she bilked investors out of more than $200 million. In December, she lost a legal challenge to her removal from the boards of companies within the Zohar funds she claimed to control.

Original article ➤

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