Former SAG Pension Executive Sues Due to Termination

March 26, 2012 ( – A former executive is suing the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Producers Pension and Health plans, alleging he was fired for reporting illegal conduct by other plan executives. 

The wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Craig E. Simmons includes previous allegations against plan chief executive Bruce Dow, according to the Chicago Tribune. Simmons filed a complaint last year stating he was terminated for acting as a whistleblower in regards to alleged embezzlement at the fund (see “Screen Actors Guild CEO Accused of Pension Plan Embezzlement”).

The board of trustees of the plans, which is operated separately from SAG, denied the allegations in September, retained outside counsel to review the matter and announced in December that the allegations were baseless, reports the Chicago Tribune.

In the suit, Simmons alleged he was fired in March 2011 by Dow due to his refusal to mislead board trustees and government investigators about embezzlement by the plans’ former CIO, Nader Karimi. Simmons also alleged that Dow and other executives misused funds for personal benefit. The suit also alleges that Dow underreported the amount of money embezzled by a former employee.

Simmons was hired by the plans in 2008 and asserted he received very postive reviews and merit pay increases through January 2011. Simmons alleged in the suit that Dow made false accusations of misconduct against Simmons. Those accusations arose, according to the suit, after Dow allegedly asked Simmons in February 2011 to lie to federal investigators about Dow’s brother-in-law being an employee of the plan and Simmons refused, the news report said.

The suit seeks unspecified general and compensatory damages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, interest and attorneys fees.