In the wake of a fraud investigation on Fiat Chrysler Automobile's sales figures screw, Automotive News reports that US Sales Director Reid Bigland has filed a lawsuit against the FCA claiming he was a scapegoat and got his wages cut in retaliation to work with the SEC.
Bigland is on the FCA Board and currently holds the Heads of Ram Brand, Head of US Sales and Chairman, and CEO, FCA Canada Inc., according to the company's bio. It's hard to imagine that it will be much longer.
The company has been in control of fudge numbers on sales reports since the prosecutors broke out in 2016. Sketchy practices of the company in that department date back to the 1980s, according to the Detroit Free Press.
But Bigland sues his employer is a new twist. As Automotive News explains:
"In the case, Bigland has argued that FCA leaders have retaliated against him for cooperating with the investigation and slashed his wages by about 90 percent, from March. FCA executives plan to use their withheld compensation to pay Penalties or settlements reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the lawsuit filed in the Michigan Oakland County Circuit Court. "The" 90 percent "paycheck costs Bigland $ 1.8 million, It seems.
Detroit News had more insight into the situation:
. "The whistleblower lawsuit gives a rare appearance in an ongoing federal investigation – one of at least two directed at Fiat Chrysler – and reveals a private rift between one of the automaker's top executives and his employer. Separate, FBI agents and the US Attorney's Office investigates corruption in the US automotive industry and has secured eight convictions, including former Fiat Chrysler vice president Alphons Iacobelli, once car manufacturer's best employer. "Bigland says he has collaborated with federal investigators and that FCA's sales reporting practices were in place before becoming appointed to the sales manager's job.
Like Auto News, Bigland's lawyer Deborah Gordon cited the lawsuit: "The SEC also proposed a solution involving some penalty for FCA. Because (Bigland) had not engaged in any offense and there was no error, he refused to do so. "
I went out to the FCA for comment and have not heard back yet, but the company issued the following statement to the Car News:
" We note the case filed by Reid Bigland. His eligibility for incentive compensation – as for all business officers – is subject to the Board's Compensation Committee that he has satisfied the applicable company and personal performance, Mr. Bigland's acknowledgment of his award is the subject of this determination and completion of a management level evaluation of cases subject to public inquiry (as previously described by FCA) where FCA continues to cooperate In addition, it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing litigation or internal e compensation processes. "
We will update this post if new important details come in.