Milwaukee Shop Settles Legal Dispute With Former President

Ending a 16-month legal dispute, Hoffman York in Milwaukee has settled a lawsuit brought by its former president following his abrupt departure in January 1996.
Eugene Gilmartin, formerly president and chief operating officer at the agency, then known as Hoffman York & Compton, filed the lawsuit in May 1996. He accused agency principals of illegally forcing him out four months earlier and of denying him health benefits.
The shop filed a counterclaim in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, charging Gilmartin with using agency money for personal purposes, including family trips.
Hoffman York declined to discuss terms of the settlement beyond a prepared statement. “We are pleased to have resolved these issues in a negotiated settlement,” the firm said in a quote attributed to Tom Jordan, executive creative director and one of seven managing partners who own the shop.
Gilmartin could not be reached for comment.
Gilmartin headed the agency for 12 years prior to his departure, which was attributed at the time to ill health. Rumors that he had actually fallen in a coup preceded his lawsuit, in which he essentially argued that was so.
With the settlement, Gilmartin is “now retired and no longer has any role with the agency,” according to Hoffman York’s statement.
Hoffman York returned to its original moniker earlier this year, dropping the Compton name added during a previous ownership stint by Compton Advertising in New York. The firm is now owned and managed by seven partners. –Trevor Jensen