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The Washington Post reports this morning that James L. Miller, the deposed CEO of Ahold-owned US Foodservice who left the company after a series of accounting irregularities were discovered there that led to the parent company to overstate profits by more than a billion dollars, is suing the company for $10 million.

Miller is claiming that the company has threatened to withdraw some of his severance package, including health care benefits for an ex-wife and access to the company plane. The Post reports that "Miller, who started at US Foodservice in 1983, is seeking to force Ahold to pay for life insurance, disability insurance, pension payments, company contributions to his 401(k) plan and back pay for unused vacation, his lawyers said. He also is asking for the financial equivalent of fringe benefits detailed in his contract. These include post-employment access to the company plane and, for three years after his departure, a commitment to pay for dues at up to two local country clubs and the cost of maintaining a company car, records show."

Miller has consistently claimed that he knew nothing of the accounting problems and only agreed to resign when Ahold agreed to the severance package. Miller claims in the suit that Ahold CEO Anders Moberg agreed that Miller was not responsible for the accounting scandal, but felt that he would have to resign for the good of the company.

While not commenting specifically on the lawsuit, Ahold spokesman Fritz Schmuhl told the Post, "The statements made by Miller in this document are incorrect."
KC's View:
Miller can't be thrilled about the fact that just last week Ahold demanded that Miller and two other former US Foodservice executives repay some or all of their 2000 and 2001 bonuses. While no specific dollar figure was mentioned, it is expected that Ahold will be seeking millions of dollars.

We're just astounded by the sheer arrogance of this lawsuit. Miller was captaining the ship - he has to take some responsibility for it running headlong into an iceberg.

But no, he wants access to a plane, a car, a secretary, country clubs (two of them?) and assorted other benefits. And yet, how many people at Ahold and its various divisions have lost their jobs because of the arrogance and misdeeds of senior executives like Miller?

It is for people like this that a special corner of hell has been reserved.