It’s not an act, cultivated for Dragon’s Den, Kevin O’Leary really is an asshole!
Just ask his neighbours in the Muskokas, where he owns a 35-acre waterfront property, with 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.
The locals will tell you all about Kevin’s guitar collection and how he insists on playing, badly, on his dock at all hours of the morning. He cranks his amp up to 11 and anyone within a 10-mile radius gets an earful.
But don’t take the neighbours’ word for it. His colleagues can also attest to his knob factor.
Anita Bell, who worked for O’Leary and his company for three years, was one of O’Leary’s key players: senior VP, sales and syndication. In 2010, her best year, she earned $368,000 in total compensation.
But it all came unraveled in the summer of 2012 when, according to Bell, O’Leary fired her without notice or cause. She sued, claiming $350,000 for pay in lieu of notice. At the time of her dismissal, Bell was up to $120,000 in annual base salary, plus commissions. Bell claimed she had been promised 1% of the equity of O’Leary Funds. The company’s value was then approximately $25M on $1.2 billion under management.
Bell also claimed that O’Leary made her work way beyond her job specs:
-co-ordinate Kevin’s book launches;
-sell and market his speeches;
-arrange for his trainers and haircuts;
-organize his CBC shows.
Plaintiff claims O’Leary demanded that Bell take care of his numerous female companions and girlfriends
Where things got complicated was when O’Leary demanded that Bell take care of his numerous female companions and girlfriends, arranging their schedules and travel, and making sure the babes were stocked up with “products.”
Meanwhile, Bell claims, she was also arranging for psychological counseling for O’Leary and his long-suffering wife, Linda. They were busting up at the time, but have since reunited. A divorce, O’Leary realized, was not a good investment.
As a result of being tossed to the curb by O’Leary, Bell claimed she had difficulty finding similar work, what with the tight employment market and tough economic climate.
Boo fucking hoo, O’Leary replied. Bell was never promised nor entitled to equity in O’Leary Funds, he says in his statement of defence. Bell never got with the program when O’Leary’s outfit turned its focus on mutual funds. That cost her thousands of dollars in commissions.
O’Leary doesn’t address specifically Bell’s charge that she took care of his female entourage, but claims that any tasks not relevant to her VP role were done on a “purely volunteer basis,” without obligation to do so.
As for Bell’s alleged inability to find a job in this tough economic climate, O’Leary replied that she’s been working for her husband’s company, Hybrid Financial, since July 2012, so where are the damages?
In the end, cooler heads prevailed and both parties took it to mediator Peter Israel for resolution. Peter worked his magic and O’Leary settled with Bell before the media picked up the whole ugly affair.
How much Bell stuck him for will never be known, as both sides signed non-disclosure agreements.