Thursday, July 19, 2018
Business

Former Lincare CIO sues company for wrongful termination

CLEARWATER — It was an attractive package that helped lure Charles D. Hartwig away from his job at the giant conglomerate, Johnson & Johnson, to become chief information officer at Clearwater-based Lincare, a provider of in-home oxygen and respiratory services.

A base salary of $325,000 a year. A $50,000 signing bonus. An annual bonus of up to $130,000. And Lincare agreed to pay all his expenses to move his family from their New Jersey home.

In November 2015 Hartwig signed Lincare's offer letter and bought a $1.5 million home in Largo.

Five months later, Hartwig said, Lincare summarily fired him.

Hartwig earlier this month filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Lincare, saying the company cooked up a bogus reason to fire him — the suit does not say what this was — and failed to pay all his relocation expenses. And his $50,000 bonus, documents filed with the suit show, must be repaid if he is fired for cause within a year of his hiring.

The lawsuit said that Lincare, which declined comment, started recruiting Hartwig in October 2015 and offered him a "robust" relocation package, which included the payment of moving expenses within two years of his hiring. That was important to Hartwig, the suit said, because one of his children would remain in New Jersey to finish high school "prior to (Hartwig) moving his family and household to Pinellas County."

Hartwig suggested in his lawsuit that Lincare hired him, in part, to get his expertise to help the company in its acquisition of American HomePatient, a deal that was completed in February 2016.

Hartwig said in his suit that he received positive evaluations of his work during his short time with Lincare and said he was told by management that "Everyone enjoys working with you."

The suit said, "Hartwig received no substantially or even marginally negative performance review or criticism during the duration of his employment."

But once Lincare milked him of his "specialized knowledge," the lawsuit said, the company fired him in a termination his lawyers described as "intentionally manufactured."

Hartwig's attorneys said he would not comment for this story.

Hartwig's lawsuit comes after the former acquisitions chief of Lincare sued the company in February alleging it refused to pay her a $1 million fee owed for work on several mergers she shepherded. The acquisitions chief, Sharon D. Ford, said in her suit that Lincare then fired her when she went to her boss to ask for the cash.

Lincare was purchased in 2012 by Linde AG, a German conglomerate that specializes in industrial and medical gases, including oxygen, in a $4.6 billion deal.

Contact William R. Levesque at [email protected] Follow @Times_Levesque.

Comments
Kahwa’s next stop after 10 years in Tampa Bay? Publix

Kahwa’s next stop after 10 years in Tampa Bay? Publix

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s been Kahwa Coffee co-founders Raphael Perrier’s goal from the start.The chain of Tampa Bay coffee shops he opened with his wife has its roots in wholesale — so he dreamed of one day winning over a big distributor to get inside P...
Updated: 2 hours ago
New board members at CareerSource Pinellas press for answers

New board members at CareerSource Pinellas press for answers

CLEARWATER— New board members at a troubled job placement center received a call for oversight Wednesday — something all but absent in recent years at the agency."Question, question, question," said CareerSource Pinellas board chair Jack Geller durin...
Published: 07/18/18
PJs encouraged at Thursday’s Sunrise Sale in St. Pete. Prices go down when the sun comes up.

PJs encouraged at Thursday’s Sunrise Sale in St. Pete. Prices go down when the sun comes up.

The annual Sunrise Sale in St. Petersburg is almost as much of a bargain hunter’s holy grail as Black Friday. For 45 years, shoppers wearing pajamas have headed out at dawn to be in position at their favorite stores the moment the sun rises. That’s w...
Published: 07/18/18
Career Q&A:

Career Q&A:

Q: One of my co-workers is lying about a task she was supposed to complete. "Dawn" is responsible for renewing everyone’s membership in our industry’s professional association. However, last year she had a problem with my password, so I processed the...
Published: 07/18/18
New 35-story condo tower to rise in Tampa’s Channelside area

New 35-story condo tower to rise in Tampa’s Channelside area

TAMPA — A 35-story condo tower with just two units per floor is expected to start construction in the booming Channelside area early next year.Tampa-based Mercury Advisors announced Wednesday that it had obtained construction financing for the $74 mi...
Published: 07/18/18
St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership hires new CEO from Salt Lake City

St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership hires new CEO from Salt Lake City

ST. PETERSBURG — The nonprofit St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership on Wednesday said it has hired Jason Mathis as its new CEO.Mathis has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience, including serving as executive director of the Downtown Alliance in S...
Published: 07/18/18
Nitally’s set to reopen at a new, more intimate, South Pasadena location

Nitally’s set to reopen at a new, more intimate, South Pasadena location

Folks who have missed testing their taste buds with a St. Petersburg eatery’s famous inferno soup will get a chance to do so once again.Nitally’s ThaiMex Cuisine, which closed its downtown St. Petersburg location in May, will open soon in a smaller l...
Published: 07/18/18
Where to get a good hot dog in Tampa Bay for National Hot Dog Day

Where to get a good hot dog in Tampa Bay for National Hot Dog Day

Monday, July 23, is National Hot Dog Day. I don’t know precisely why, but I think some major lobbying from the sausage board was involved. It’s baseball season, it’s barbecue season, it’s I-don’t-feel-like-cooking season. Those are plenty of reasons....
Published: 07/18/18
Housing starts tumbled 12.3 percent in June

Housing starts tumbled 12.3 percent in June

Associated PressWASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilders sharply curtailed the pace of construction in June as housing starts plummeted 12.3 percent. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 m...
Published: 07/18/18
EU fines Google a record $5 billion over mobile system

EU fines Google a record $5 billion over mobile system

BRUSSELS — The European Union fined Google a record $5 billion Wednesday for using the market dominance of its Android mobile operating system to force handset makers to install Google apps, reducing choice for consumers.EU Competition Commissioner M...
Published: 07/18/18