Former executive sues CBS for executive pension payments he says are due him

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 11, 2017

PITTSBURGH – A former Westinghouse Electric Corporation (now CBS Corporation) executive believes the network violated an agreement it signed with him to continue providing his pension payments after a brief return from retirement.

PITTSBURGH – A former Westinghouse Electric Corporation (now CBS Corporation) executive believes the network violated an agreement it signed with him to continue providing his pension payments after a brief return from retirement.

Thomas A. Markovich of Upper St. Clair filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 27 versus CBS Corporation, of Pittsburgh.

Markovich began working for Westinghouse in August 1966, retired in December 1996 and started to receive his executive pension (EP) payments in January 1997. Three months later, Markovich received an offer letter (referred to in the suit as “Letter 1”) to return to the company in the capacity of Managing Director of the Temelin Project.

“Plaintiff was required to complete the design, the hardware and to maximize the cash flow and profitability for Temelin in order to make Temelin a successful project instead of a project with $50-$70 million in write-offs and no schedule. Letter 1 was signed by then Chairman and CEO, Michael Jordan, on behalf of defendant, approving the offer to plaintiff. Defendant’s Letter 1 outlined the compensation, including base salary, annual incentive opportunity, long-term incentive opportunity (non-qualified stock options), employee benefits, and vacation. Plaintiff did not accept the offer contained in Letter 1 and requested clarifications of various clauses,” the suit says.

After rejecting the first offer, Markovich received a second offer in June 1997 (“Letter 2”) where the defendant promised to provide Markovich with his EP payments. This led the plaintiff to agree to be re-hired and then re-retire at the conclusion of the Temelin Project.

Starting in May 1999, Markovich was entitled to receive his EP payments in May 1999 in monthly payments of $2,409.89 per month, with 100 percent survivorship from defendant, the suit says. A separation agreement was also completed between the parties, signed by Jordan and executed on Oct. 27, 1999.

However, the plaintiff claims to have received another letter informing him that Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy on March 29 and he would no longer be receiving EP payments.

Markovich requested his payments be reinstated in July and received the promise of a response from CBS in August, which allegedly never came.

“Plaintiff would not have agreed to be rehired by defendant and re-retire from defendant, but for defendant’s agreement to pay plaintiff his EP, as outlined in the agreement. Plaintiff has not received any payments from defendant since April 2017, thus breaching the agreement between plaintiff and defendant,” the complaint reads.

For multiple counts of breach of contract, the plaintiff is seeking judgment in its favor; a declaration that defendant has failed to use its best efforts in providing plaintiff with his EP; a declaration that defendant is to pay plaintiff’s EP payment from May 2009 until the death of defendant and spouse; a declaration that all back payment shall include interest; awarding plaintiff all fees, costs, and expenses in bringing this action against plaintiff; and such relief as this Court deems just and proper.

The plaintiff is represented by Kristen A. Markovich in Sewickley.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-17-016211

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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