Attorneys representing Wayne Don and Sam Fortier responded to the Calista Corporation's lawsuit on Tuesday. In responses filed with the court, they characterized it as a “frivolous gambit to suppress the truth.”
The attorneys argue that Calista's lawsuit is the corporation's latest attempt to keep Don quiet about CEO Andrew Guy’s misconduct and sway Calista’s upcoming election in Guy’s favor. According to the responses filed on Tuesday, Guy is the kind of person who rewards people who stay loyal to him and ruins people who don’t.
The corporation’s latest power struggle can be traced back to August 2017, when a woman who was trying to sell her company to Calista accused an unnamed Calista employee of sexually harassing her. In his response this morning, Wayne Don’s attorney, Brewster Jamieson, doesn’t say who the employee is. But he does say that the man was a high-ranking Calista executive, that he was CEO Andrew Guy’s “most trusted advisor,” and that he’d sexually harassed women before.
The response filed on Tuesday claims that the advisor played a key role in helping Guy hold onto power in 2012, when Calista’s Board of Directors voted to put Guy on administrative leave. At that time, the advisor relentlessly campaigned for Guy on Facebook and messaged hundreds of shareholders to shore up Guy’s support. The advisor appears to have bragged about this to the woman he was sexually harassing. In an email he sent to the woman last summer, which was included in Jamieson's response, the advisor added that he had to delete “dozens of public Facebook posts” after Guy was successfully reinstated as CEO in 2012.
Women at Calista repeatedly accused Guy’s advisor of sexual harassment. Jamieson's response lays out a list: in 2014, the advisor was disciplined for making inappropriate comments to a woman he worked with. In 2015, he was disciplined for making comments again and taking credit for a female employee’s work. The next year, he was inappropriate with an intern and disciplined for uncomfortably “watching” a woman in his office. According to Jamieson’s response, these incidents are well-documented in the advisor’s personnel file, and CEO Andrew Guy was allegedly aware of them all.
So when a woman who was trying to sell her company to Calista claimed that Guy’s advisor had sexually harassed her too, Jamieson says that Guy should not have been surprised. In a phone call on August 29, 2017, the woman told Guy that his advisor had sent her over 1,100 text messages in a month and had shown up at her home in Colorado, even after she told him to stay away from her.
Guy apologized to the woman for her experience and selected Calista’s Business Development Director, Jim St. George, to be her new point of contact for any further business negotiations. What he didn't do, says Jamieson, is report the woman’s complaint to Calista’s Human Resources Department, which is what Calista’s Code of Conduct says that he was supposed to do.
Instead, the lawsuit response says, Guy and his advisor carried on as usual. They went on a hunting trip together. They also flew to Washington D.C. together, where they met with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young.
At some point, the woman’s new point of contact at Calista, Jim St. George, found out about the sexual harassment she’d experienced and reported it to Human Resources; Calista’s Human Resources Director spoke with Andrew Guy about the allegations on October 18, 2017. In a response filed with the court, attorneys representing Sam Fortier, Don's co-defendent in the lawsuit, claim that Guy did not initially share what he knew. He didn’t tell Calista’s Human Resources Director that he’d already spoken to the woman his advisor had sexually harassed, and he didn’t provide the Director with the notes he had taken from that conversation.
Calista launched an investigation into the advisor’s behavior and ultimately fired him. Calista claims that Wayne Don, who chaired its Board of Directors at the time, later used that investigation to his advantage in a self-serving, failed coup against CEO Andrew Guy. But Don’s attorney, Jamieson, argues that Don was disturbed by Guy’s behavior and was within his rights as chairman to raise concerns about it. Guy’s failure to act on the woman’s sexual harassment complaints, Jamieson argues, “was morally wrong, legally wrong… and a serious failure of leadership.”
Jamieson further claims that Calista’s investigation into Don’s alleged misconduct was politically motivated, fundamentally flawed, and an illegal attempt to sway Calista’s upcoming board election in Guy’s favor. The overall message, he writes, is clear: “You had better not cross Andrew Guy and the directors supporting him because if you do, they will use all of Calista’s resources to come after you.”
Calista has yet to respond to these latest allegations.