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Former Acclaim executives face $150m lawsuit

Ran it like 'personal piggy bank'.

A year after publisher Acclaim declared itself bankrupt, the trustee appointed to wind up the firm has filed a complaint against several of the company's former executives demanding $150m in damages for a litany of corporate abuses.

Among the defendants named by the complaint are Greg Fischbach, James Scoroposki, Rod Cousens and several others, with a host of dodgy dealings being alleged which include a number of transactions that violate SEC regulations.

The strongly worded document accuses the defendants of "operating Acclaim in many instances as if it were a personal piggy bank" and alleges that they conspired to pay each other huge salaries, bonuses and fees, sometimes even indirectly through third parties.

Among the allegations is a claim that executives removed property including artwork and equipment from the company's offices when it went bankrupt, that co-founders Fischbach and Scoroposki were paid high remuneration - increased by funds funnelled through third-party companies - but had no obligations to devote any time to the company, and that Cousens was loaned a large sum of money which was later offset against a huge bonus.

All of these events, and several others detailed in the document, came at a point when the company was losing money at a massive rate, leading the trustee to suggest that the firm's generosity to its executives "constituted an obvious waste of corporate assets."

Many more irregularities and breaches of corporate legislation are alleged in the complaint, including the lack of financial record-keeping after the company declared bankruptcy twelve months ago.

The damages being sought are in the region of $150m - money which the trustee plans to use to partially repay Acclaim's many remaining creditors should the court proceedings against the former executives succeed.

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