EF Hutton: Exec refused Springfield move, wanted Beverly Hills office

Financial services company EF Hutton is buying the 1 S. Limestone St. building in downtown Springfield. Bill Lackey/STAFF

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Financial services company EF Hutton is buying the 1 S. Limestone St. building in downtown Springfield. Bill Lackey/STAFF

A former EF Hutton America executive has sued the company.

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of EF Hutton America and its recent announcement to make Springfield its corporate headquarters.The paper has spoken to analysts, delved into the firm’s financial statements and its past history.

By the numbers:

400 — Jobs projected over five years

$22M — EF Hutton America’s proposed investment in Springfield

50 — Estimated jobs the company is looking to hire now

$1.5M to $1.7 million — Possible final value of proposed employment incentive agreement with the city of Springfield if approved

A former EF Hutton America executive was removed after he refused to move to Springfield and instead demanded a separate office in California, the company said in a statement Friday.

Dennis White sued the firm in federal court earlier this week, alleging EF Hutton America failed to compensate him for his work as president for at least two years.

In a statement Friday, the firm describes Dennis White as a member of the EF Hutton board of directors and says he was never employed in any other operating role by the company. The statement says White, “declined an offer to work in Springfield and is seeking payment because EF Hutton would not agree to his demand to establish a new office in Beverly Hills, Calif., for his sole use.”

RELATED: Former EF Hutton exec files suit, claiming $250K salary unpaid

White’s attorneys declined to provide further comment Friday evening, saying the lawsuit speaks for itself.

He filed the complaint Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, claiming the company hired him in 2014 as president. The lawsuit alleges White served in that role for two years and provided assistance on strategic decisions, acquisition attempts and investments, among other duties.

The firm doesn’t typically comment on pending litigation, CEO Chris Daniels said. But it made an exception in this case.

“EF Hutton wanted to be sure that the record was set straight and clarify the matter,” Daniels said.

White’s lawsuit alleges the company didn’t pay him the promised $250,000 annual salary, bonuses, equity incentives and other benefits. The complaint seeks damages of more than $150,000, court costs and other expenses.

But the statement from the firm contests that claim.

“He was fully and completely compensated for his service on the board of directors,” the firm’s statement says. “Prior to 2016 he never expressed any issue with compensation.”

DETAILS: Springfield-based EF Hutton to target small investors

EF Hutton America announced last month it had purchased two downtown buildings, the former Credit Life building and State Theater, and planned to bring up to 400 jobs to Springfield as it launched its financial services business.

The company’s statement says the company’s board, including White, unanimously approved a resolution that all senior executives must work in Springfield, the company’s headquarters. That resolution was enforced with the firm’s other executives.

“For example, when a different executive declined to move to Springfield, he was relieved and EF Hutton is now seeking his replacement,” the statement says.

White was offered a position as president in Springfield, EF Hutton America’s statement says, but demanded an exception that would allow him to work from an office in Beverly Hills.

“EF Hutton will not be coerced into paying any amount and will vigorously defend against these unfounded allegations and may assert its own claims against Mr. White,” the statement says.

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