A month after CBS denied Les Moonves his $120 million exit package on the grounds that he did not “cooperate fully” with the investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct, the ousted CEO has let it be known he’s not going away quietly – or without his money.
On Wednesday, CBS acknowledged in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Moonves has demanded that he and network take the matter to binding arbitration.
In the document, which CBS posted to its corporate website, the company acknowledges that Moonves has that right under the separation agreement he signed in September but it maintains that he was fired for cause and therefore is not entitled to any severance pay.
The filing reads, “As previously reported, on December 17, 2018, CBS Corporation… announced that its Board of Directors had completed its investigation of the Company’s former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Leslie Moonves, and had determined that there were grounds to terminate his employment with the Company for cause under the Company’s employment agreement with Mr. Moonves and that Mr. Moonves will not be entitled to receive any severance payment from the Company.”
It added, “On Jan. 16, 2019, Mr. Moonves notified the Company of his election to demand binding arbitration with respect to this matter. The Company does not intend to comment further on this matter during the pendency of the arbitration proceedings.”
CBS: Ex-CEO Les Moonves will be denied $120 million severance package
Moonves has been accused of varying degrees of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women.
In an early draft of their report obtained in December by The New York Times, the outside lawyers hired by CBS to conduct the investigation found Moonves, 69, to be “evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.”
The leaked version of the report said Moonves “engaged in multiple acts of serious nonconsensual sexual misconduct in and outside of the workplace, both before and after he came to CBS in 1995,” adding that the former CEO “received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional.”
After CBS announced it would not pay the severance package, Moonves’ attorney, Andrew Levander, on Dec. 17 called the decision as “foreordained” and “without merit,” in a statement to USA TODAY.
“Consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this ‘process,’ the press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves, further damaging his name, reputation, career and legacy,” Levander added. “Mr. Moonves vehemently denies any nonconsensual sexual relations and cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”
Levander’s team declined to comment on the arbitration development.