MINNEAPOLIS – Irwin Jacobs, chairman of boat builder Genmar Holdings, has become entangled in a legal dispute between Wal-Mart and Julie Roehm, its former marketing chief who was fired in December, according to several published reports.
In a recent court filing, Roehm alleges Jacobs – who owns several companies, some of which provide products and services to Wal-Mart – helped Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott receive preferential prices on “a number of yachts” and “a large pink diamond” and allowed him to use Jacob’s private jets.
In an effort to demonstrate violations of Wal-Mart’s ethics policies, she also suggests Jacobs was preferential in his treatment of Scott’s son, Eric, who currently serves as a consultant for Jacobs Trading Co. and previously was a full-time Genmar employee.
Wal-Mart has publicly disputed Roehm’s claims concerning its CEO and Jacobs, and Jacobs was quoted as saying her allegations were “totally outrageous.” In addition, he has threatened to sue Roehm if she doesn’t retract her claims.
While Jacobs did admit to taking vacations with the Scott family as part of their long friendship, he said they’ve always paid its own way and Scott has been clear that he doesn’t want preferential treatment in their business relations.
Roehm’s attorney, Sam Morgan, has stated he will depose Jacobs.
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