Lawsuit accuses Pelco Structural co-founder, former president of embezzlement

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Former Pelco Structural President Phil Albert is accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the company he helped found in 2005, according to a Rogers County court filing.

On Nov. 1, Albert filed a lawsuit against Pelco Structural in Claremore, the steel pole manufacturing business he cofounded, claiming wrongful termination.

In a countersuit filed on Nov. 25, the company denied the allegations and claimed that Albert and a company accountant embezzled $7.4 million from the company from 2010 to 2019.

Albert exited the company in April 2019, at which time, neither he nor the company would comment on his departure.

The lawsuit filed this week alleges Albert “paid himself a salary greater than authorized by his employment agreement,” and that he had received unauthorized payments labeled as “office regulars,” “bonuses,” and reimbursements.”

The lawsuit further claims that Albert had used company credit cards to purchase goods and services and to “make charitable contributions” that were personal (to Albert) and “provided no benefit to Pelco Structural.”

Albert’s attorney, Paul DeMuro, released a statement addressing the countersuit, in which he said:

“Mr. Albert was shocked and dismayed when, in April of this year (Pelco Structural co-founder) Phil Parduhn’s sons abruptly forced him out of the company. We are now engaged in a ‘business divorce’. Like many divorces, emotions run high, and inflammatory allegations are made. We intend to pursue Mr. Albert’s claims and separate the wheat from the chaff on the claims against him.”

Albert opened the steel pole manufacturing business in Claremore in 2005 with Phil Parduhn, and was appointed to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in 2016 by Gov. Mary Fallin. On Tuesday, the OU Board of Regents released an emailed statement refraining from comment on the allegations.

 

Albert also previously served as chairman of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

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