Using company card to pay escorts no grounds for firing, man claims

By Steve Korris | Dec 22, 2009

CLARKSBURG -– Metso Paper's former safety director in Fairmont claims he shouldn't have lost his job for running up charges for female escorts and other comforts on a company credit card.

John Adams sued Metso Paper in Marion Circuit Court in November, seeking more than $1 million in damages for economic loss, distress and humiliation.

"Defendants failed to issue any guidelines for the use of the plaintiff's corporate credit card," wrote his lawyer, Brent Beveridge of Fairmont.

He wrote that Metso Paper deducted $2,012.52 from Adams's May 12 paycheck and demanded reimbursement of $23,948.96.

"Plaintiff has attempted to secure documentation of the alleged unauthorized use of the company credit card which is under the sole control of the defendant," he wrote.

Adams also sued Steve Kuretza, claiming he aided and abetted Metso Paper.

Two things about Kuretza bothered Metso Paper lawyer Heather Garrison, of Spilman Thomas and Battle in Morgantown.

First, according to Garrison, Adams sued Kuretza only to defeat federal jurisdiction.

According to Garrison, a suit without Kuretza would belong in federal court because Adams is a West Virginia citizen and Metso Paper is a citizen of Delaware and Georgia.

Second, according to Garrison, Kuretza died. She wrote that this "explains why defendant Kurteza has not been served with process."

For those reasons she removed the case to federal court in Clarksburg on Dec. 3.

There she filed a counterclaim, alleging Adams took Metso Paper property.

She wrote that he bought non-business items from Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Columbia Sportswear, Verizon and the National Football League's online store.

She wrote that he used his card to rent rooms and receive cash.

She wrote that he whited out movie charges on hotel bills and wrote "AV Equip."

She wrote that he created receipts from fictitious companies.

She wrote that in April, Adams called a credit card service representative about charges the credit company had refused.

She wrote that the representative asked for and received verification of four charges at Angela's Escort, totaling $1,825.

She wrote that the credit card company informed Metso Paper that Adams used his card for escorts.

"Metso investigated the matter, after which it terminated plaintiff's employment on May 11," Garrison wrote.

On the day Garrison removed the case, Beveridge amended the complaint to add Charles Kuretza as a defendant.

On Dec. 11, Garrison moved to dismiss the second Kuretza.

"In a continued effort to have Metso and others pay for his extravagant lifestyle, plaintiff filed the instant action," she wrote.

The complaint stated that he used the card for authorized expenditures, she wrote, but it didn't deny that he also used it for unauthorized expenditures.

She wrote that Adams "does not even allege or explain the relationship between himself and defendant Charles Kuretza."

Eric Iskra, of Spilman Thomas and Battle in Charleston, also represents Metso Paper.

District Judge Irene Keeley set a scheduling conference Feb. 5.

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