The former CEO of Barnes & Noble filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the company, saying the bookseller breached his contract for denying him severance and defamed him by saying he engaged in misconduct, which he denies. Barnes & Noble said the lawsuit was an extortion attempt, per the AP, and that Demos Parneros was terminated for sexual harassment and bullying, claims he refuted in his legal papers. In his suit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Parneros said he had been making positive changes at the company, where he had been CEO since April 2017, but was fired without cause after a deal to sell the company didn't work out, and he accused founder Leonard Riggio of being volatile and refusing to let go of control.
When Barnes & Noble announced Parneros' termination in July, the company said then it was for violating company policies, but didn't provide specifics other than saying they weren't financial ones. Parneros was denied severance. In his suit, Parneros said he was owed severance because he was fired without cause, and also asked for punitive damages. In a statement, Barnes & Noble said the suit "is nothing but an attempt to extort money from the company by a CEO who was terminated for sexual harassment, bullying behavior, and other violations of company policies." It said the accusations against Riggio are "replete with lies and mischaracterizations."
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