9:56am PT by Eriq Gardner
Former Lucasfilm Executive Suing After Disney Merger Nixed His Bonus
The guy whose job it was to manage payroll at George Lucas' studio says in court papers that Lucasfilm employees were paid "substantially below market" base salary up until the Disney merger, but that their compensation was supplemented by large annual bonuses.
Jeffrey Porter, former corporate controller, didn't get a pro rata annual bonus, though, when he was terminated in July 2013, and so now he's suing.
According to the complaint, removed to federal court on Monday, his job was eliminated following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm. The merger brought a change in compensation structure. The lawsuit says that "the salaries of those Lucasfilm employees who were ineligible under Disney's bonus plan were 'leveled' by incorporating their annual bonus amounts into their weekly pay."
But Porter, who says he took a 25 percent salary cut to work for Lucasfilm, is upset that he was denied what he had expected. He says that the bonus money represented between 35 to 50 percent of his base salary for each of the eight years he worked at the company.
He says that he wouldn't have accepted employment without an assurance from Lucasfilm's in-house recruiter that he could rely on the annual payment. He adds that he stayed on at Lucasfilm following the merger after the company's chief financial officer, Steve Condiotti, told him his severance payment upon layoff would be "far more generous" than Lucasfilm had provided in this past.
Porter is now suing for breach of contract. Disney hasn't responded to the complaint yet.