Grey Global Scandal: Sorrell Ditches Mitch's Pitch

26 May 2006

The contrast between two of the key protagonists in the recently resurrected Grey Global Group kickbacks case [WAMN: 24-May-06] could hardly be greater.

Had the schmear saga been a TV soap or movie (and one of these days it might well be) this week's episode would be most aptly presented on a split screen.

On the left would be WPP Group ceo Sir Martin Sorrell in an elegant executive office overlooking London's River Thames; on the right, in a Brooklyn prison cell, languishes former Grey executive vp-director of graphic services, Mitchell Mosallem.

The latter is currently suing Grey and WPP (which now owns the Grey businesses) for $4 million in damages, claiming he "took the fall" for Grey and a number of senior executives including chairman Ed Meyer, chief financial officer Steven Felsher and former vice chairman/general manager Bob Berenson..

Mossalem has also written Sorrell, threatening to release "close to twenty boxes of records, memos, computer printouts and other information conclusively proving that Grey, Grey senior management and others shared my guilt and in several instances took leadership roles in the crimes I have been convicted of."

In April 2003 Mossalem pled guilty to eleven counts of antitrust, fraud and tax evasion or, in plain English, masterminding a kickback and bid-rigging racket involving Grey and graphics house Color Wheel. Seven months later he was sentenced to 70 months jail.

Mossalem's suit, filed last November, not only names his former Grey bosses; it also indicts WPP and Grey's law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, charging that these parties participated in breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of process, and intentional and negligent misrepresentation.

Mosallem, who is representing himself, on Wednesday faced lawyers acting for WPP in the New York State Supreme Court before Judge Ira Gammerman. The legion of lawyers filed a raft of defense documents and argued that the case against their clients should be dismissed. A Grey spokesman also opined that "Mitch Mosallem's complaint has no merit."

As if to prove that justice wears not only a blindfold, but in this case leg-irons too, Judge Gammerman's decision on the motion to dismiss the suit is not expected for between sixty to ninety days.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff