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StrawberryFrog Fires Back at Former CSO

Ilana Bryant had sued for breach of contract

Photo courtesy: Ty Cole

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Ad company StrawberryFrog fired back today against a former employee, who claims in a $2 million breach of contract lawsuit that the agency's CEO is running the place into the ground.

A lawyer for StrawberryFrog said Wednesday that the company planned to counter-sue Ilana Bryant, a former strategy officer who has accused CEO Scott Goodson of "treating Frog as his own personal fiefdom."

"We will file the appropriate papers in court and part of those papers will be a counter-claim for $50,000," said StrawberryFrog lawyer Michael Volpe.

Volpe said that Bryant signed a contract agreement recently that, in addition to a raise, granted her a $50,000 bonus. Under the terms of the contract, she had to pay the money back if she left the company before November 2011.

"She resigned," said Volpe. "She owes the company money."

Goodson, who Bryant claims is an "emotionally unstable boss," also released a statement, saying the lawsuit came from a bitter former employee looking for a payday.

"Ilana Bryant was a valued employee whose job performance decreased over time.  She became a divisive, negative force in the StrawberryFrog New York office and her relationships deteriorated resulting in her voluntarily resigning from her employment," the statement reads.

"StrawberryFrog will not simply pay money to make Ilana Bryant happy," the statement continues. "It is sad and disturbing that she has chosen to distort the facts and attack the agency and its people, essentially blaming everyone else for her own professional failings."

Bryant shot back with a statement of her own.

"The poor performance claims are baseless and will proven to be false. StrawberryFrog is a great agency full of wonderful and talented people," Bryant said.  "It is truly unfortunate that this situation has become public. I have no further comments on the case."

Bryant, who has more than 17 years experience in British advertising firms, has accused her former boss of losing clients at the agency because of poor management and undermining her at every turn.

She claims that Goodson, CFO Ramesh Rajan and a consultant Jeff Schur orchestrated a coup that saw four employees of hers transferred to a "parallel" strategy department.

When Goodson hired his wife Karin Drakenberg to be the chief operating officer, Bryant said she quit because she couldn’t take it any longer.

Besides Bryant, six department heads have recently left the company.

Schur also said that he was not fired, contrary to Bryant's assertions in the suit. ("I left on amicable terms," he told Adweek.)

When asked about Bryant's allegations, he deflected: "Everyone is entitled to their opinion."