A former Chief Compliance Officer for National Holdings Corp. claims she was fired after 16 years of working for the brokerage firm after she began investigating allegations of insider trading against executives, including Chairman and CEO Michael Mullen.
The lawsuit names a total of 12 defendants plus a pair of businesses owned and operated by National Holdings: National Securities Corp. and National Asset Management. In addition to the allegations of insider trading, the suit details various misogynistic, harassing and otherwise unprofessional actions taken by the firm near the end of Kay Johnson’s tenure as CCO.
Johnson had previously received rave reviews from Mullen for her performance. She received the largest bonus of her career just two months before she was fired, and in her performance review from January 2018, Mullen had indicated she was being prepped for roles as president or chief operating officer.
In her complaint, Johnson alleges Mullen opened up an options account in September 2018, putting in 470 options for TG Therapeutics at nearly $115,000. This option is essentially a bet that the company’s stock would decline in value. It was the only option Mr. Mullen traded in after opening the account. Sure enough, just under two weeks later TG’s stock began to drop, by a total of 44 percent over the ensuing two weeks. Mullen then sold his put options for a profit of more than 200 percent.
Johnson also details instances of harassment. In one case, she and another female executive were dismissed so the rest of the male group could go to a strip club. In another instance, a woman quit after just two days on the job after being sexually harassed, and the company awarded her $75,000.
If you have evidence of wrongdoing on the part of your company, whether it be fraud, other forms of white collar crime or sexual harassment, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group for the guidance and advice you need.