OU regent sued by former employer over alleged embezzlement

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CLAREMORE, Okla. (KFOR) – An OU regent who recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer is now being sued by the company over allegations of embezzlement.

OU regent Phil Albert and steel pole manufacturer Pelco Structural, based in Claremore, are pointing fingers at each other in a series of lawsuits.

The first suit was filed in early November by Albert, claiming he was wrongfully terminated by Pelco after he allegedly reported client concerns about product failure.

Then this week, Pelco Structural filed a countersuit with fraud and embezzlement allegations against Albert.

In the suit, Pelco alleges Albert stole funds from the company for “his personal use and benefit” over a 10 year period while he was president of the company, a position he held from 2005 to earlier this year.

According to the lawsuit, Albert allegedly embezzled nearly $7.5 million from Pelco Structural. The suit alleges he paid himself a salary greater than what was authorized by his employment agreement, gave himself unauthorized bonus and “office regular” payments that totaled just over $700,000, and paid himself unauthorized reimbursement payments totaling around $2.5 million.

The countersuit also alleges Albert misused company credit cards and bank accounts for personal expenses on things like fine jewelry, fine dining and casino charges.

In a statement to the Norman Transcript, the OU Board of Regents said, “Since this is a personal matter for Regent Albert, it is inappropriate for us to comment on the lawsuit. That said, Phil is an excellent Regent and we expect him to continue to serve well into the future.”

Albert’s attorney has called these allegations “inflammatory” and said he intends to continue to pursue Albert’s allegations against Pelco Structural.

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