Johnson Outdoors Inc. – the parent company of Scubapro, has filed suit against the former head of its European scuba diving subsidiary, accusing the executive of filing bogus expense reports and paying unauthorized bonuses to favored employees.
The Racine, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of outdoor equipment accuses Mamdouh Ashour, a U.S. citizen who lives in France, of attempting to harm its diving subsidiary financially so that Ashour and his associates could buy the division for a price below its true value.
The company made the allegations in a suit filed last week in Racine County Circuit Court, on the same day Johnson Outdoors announced that it was seeking a replacement for Ashour. The public statement said only that Ashour was no longer employed by the company, but the lawsuit says that Ashour was dismissed.
The suit alleges that since at least 1996, Ashour secretly paid bonuses to favored employees in excess of his authority and contrary to company policy to advance his own interests. The suit further says that Ashour filed false expense reports and secretly used unauthorized credit cards in the company’s name to conceal unauthorized expenses.
Johnson Outdoors seeks unspecified monetary damages from Ashour, who could not be reached for comment.
Johnson Outdoors, meanwhile, is in the process of a recall of 24,000 dive computers that were discovered to have a defect. The computer screen of the Uwatec Smart Com and Smart Pro dive computers may freeze, causing inaccurate information to be displayed.