Did Chicago’s C.D. Peacock “illegally sell Rolex watches to foreign grey market resellers”? Did they fire Suzana Krajisnik for refusing to participate in the scheme? That’s the charge the ex-employee has levied against the Rolex Authorized Dealer in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Rolex dealer rubbishes racketeering lawsuit watchpro.com‘s headline proclaims . . .
C.D. Peacock hasn’t been legally charged with racketeering. What’s more (or less), WatchPro’s interview with C. D. Peacock’s VP of Development Adam Fried and Jane McFetridge, litigation lawyer at Jackson Lewis P.C., doesn’t “rubbish” Ms. Krajisnik’s claim. It bolsters her credibility.
CDP admits it had discovered at least one instance of watches being sold inappropriately and had fired the employee responsible for it in January this year. There were two other former employees named in the Suzana Krajisnik lawsuit that Adam Fried says were let go for much more severe reasons than poor performance, which was the sole reason given for firing Ms Krajisnik.
“They were let go for rules infractions that violated company policies, in addition to having not great performance,” Ms McFetridge clarifies.
When asked by WatchPro whether any of those infractions related to the way watches were sold, which is at the heart of the Suzana Krajisnik case, Ms McFetridge replies: “For one of them, it was. We looked into it and fired him.”
So at least one of CDP’s employees was participating in a fraudulent scheme to violate the company’s agreement with Rolex. CDP’s defense: “We didn’t know about it. When we did, we stopped it. Ms. Krajisnik’s termination had nothing to do with it.”
WatchPro’s Rob Corder is friendlier with the watch industry than Flipper was with Bud and Sandy, but he’s no fool. The Editor sees clearly enough that CDP’s defense is a leaky boat. So he runs cover for the retailer, Rolex and Patek Philippe.
C. D. Peacock is far from the first authorized dealer of Rolex or Patek Philippe to discover that its employees had been profiting from funneling watches to grey market dealers that can sell pieces like a steel Daytona or Nautilus for double their retail price. Flippers are constantly grooming sales people with promises of splitting the profit of over-retail deals.
The likes of Rolex and Patek Philippe take a tough line if these infractions do come to light, but firing the employee in question is typically sufficient for the brands unless a pattern of repeat offending is discovered or the senior management were turning a blind eye, or worse.
Well exactly. And we’re not going to know who knew what when, what they did and who pocketed the gray market cash until the discovery phase of Ms. Krajisnik’s civil suit – assuming CDP doesn’t reverse its decision not to pay Ms. K to go away.
Meanwhile, CDP’s lawyer signals Ms. Krajisnik’s legal team that they’re going to spend them into the ground. “That whole process can take up to two years,” Ms McFetridge announces. Oh, and FU.
“I hate to sound cavalier, but these cases are a dime a dozen. Disgruntled employees file suits routinely. One third of all litigation in federal court is employment-related claims.
“This complaint that they filed is unusual in terms of its length. You do not normally see something that is that long. But the fact that they threatened to file a lawsuit and then carried through and filed it is the sort of thing that accounts for around one third of all lawsuits in the United States,” she scoffs.
CDP also puts a brave face on the challenge to their integrity. “We have received texts and e-mails from customers saying they support us,” Mr. Fried (above) asserts. Which they would do if they ever hope to get a new Rolex from CDP.
“Everybody is so comfortable and confident that we are going to fight this thing vigorously and come out vindicated,” he soothes. CDP’s support group includes WatchPro – at least publicly. What WatchPro knows or suspects privately is another matter.