Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The Westbrook-based Infinity Federal Credit Union has told its customers that longtime President and CEO Kenneth Williams was terminated for allegedly using credit union money for personal expenses.
The credit union also has sued Williams, who led the financial institution for 23 years.
An attorney representing Williams, however, said the lawsuit is retaliation for a complaint that Williams filed against the credit union with the Maine Human Rights Commission before he was fired.
“Mr. Williams will deny all the claims and aggressively counter the action that’s been taken,” said Timothy O’Brien, Williams’ attorney.
Williams, who lives in Old Orchard Beach, worked for the credit union for more than 30 years. He was president and CEO from 1990 until September.
He was fired after an audit concluded that he was not submitting receipts for purchases of more than $100 in accordance with the credit union’s policy.
The audit covered two years of expenses, according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 8 in Cumberland County Superior Court. Over that period, Williams made 1,200 purchases totaling $66,000 on his company credit card but could provide receipts for only 18 expenses, the lawsuit claims.
The credit union is accusing Williams of conversion of funds, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. It is seeking to recover misappropriated funds and other unspecified damages.
“There’s zero doubt in my mind that some of these expenses were personal expenses,” said Melissa Hewey, an attorney with Drummond Woodsum, the law firm representing the credit union.
Williams said he has been advised by his attorneys not to speak publicly. Attorney O’Brien said that “Mr. Williams was surprised and hurt by the claims that were included in the case after the treatment he received after more than 30 years of service.”
Sandra Cloutier, the credit union’s vice president of operations, has since been named acting president. She would not comment on Williams’ termination, referring all inquiries to counsel.
The lawsuit does not include the exact amount or detail the personal expenses that Williams is alleged to have charged to the credit union. However, it alleges that he spent $11,000 at BJ’s Wholesale Club.
The lawsuit also alleges that Williams rented two storage units, at a monthly cost of $184 each, and one was for his personal use. It claims that Williams used a company car for personal use and did not keep a travel log. Williams also allegedly racked up $2,992 in tolls on the Maine Turnpike.
“Mr. Williams tied more than one E-ZPass transponder to the account paid by Mr. Williams’ corporate credit card,” the lawsuit says.
O’Brien said Williams’ expenses were reviewed and approved by another credit union administrator, and the credit union had regular audits. He questioned the motivation behind the audit that led to Williams’ ouster.
Williams, who is 70, filed an age discrimination and whistleblower complaint against the credit union before his termination, O’Brien said.
The Maine Human Rights Commission would not confirm or deny that a complaint had been filed because complaints are considered confidential until an investigator’s report is issued.
Hewey said the credit union will look to recover any funds that were misused over the past six years, and that it is still trying to determine the amount.
“We’re continuing our review internally,” Hewey said. “It’s going to be a long, tedious process to figure out what happened.”
Infinity Federal Credit Union is a nonprofit corporation based in Westbrook, with branches in Portland, Arundel, Kennebunk and Bangor. It was established in 1921 and is one of Maine’s oldest credit unions.
Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: