Springfield-based EF Hutton settles lawsuit over pay dispute

Financial firm says its looking to hire for 38 positions.

EF Hutton has settled a lawsuit filed by a former board member, ending a year-long dispute after the man claimed the company failed to pay him for his work and violated an agreement to make him president.

Terms of the agreement between Dennis White and EF Hutton weren’t disclosed. Records from U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania show the case has been dismissed.

The Springfield-based financial services firm also said this week it plans to hire close to 40 new workers as part of a plan to roughly double its workforce by early next year.

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EF Hutton is a financial services firm based in downtown Springfield. It provides investment management services through a web-based application to clients and offers investment management services by providing clients continuous and ongoing supervision over managed accounts, according to its website.

Company leaders have previously called White’s claims baseless and said his argument was based on a term sheet that didn’t constitute a formal offer.

“Faced with this dispositive fact, plaintiff has now distanced himself from his repeated allegations that his employment agreement was set forth in the Draft Term Sheet and now states, for the first time in his opposition brief, that his employment agreement with the corporate defendants was oral,” EF Hutton’s defense attorney said in their response filed this spring.

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EF Hutton issued a statement saying it had reached a resolution in the lawsuit. White’s attorneys didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“Per the agreed terms, Mr. White has dropped his lawsuit against the company and has surrendered all stock and equity interest of (EF Hutton) that he holds … While specific details of the settlement were not disclosed, both parties admitted no wrongdoing or liability with respect to any of the raised or asserted claims by the other party,” EF Hutton’s statement says.

According to E.F. Hutton officials, former Director Dennis White relinquished 200,000 shares and warrants to purchase an additional 100,000 shares as part of the settlement of this lawsuit. The value of those 300,000 shares at the company’s current stock price would be approximately $324,000.

White filed the initial complaint almost exactly a year ago. The settlement was the first time either entity had filed court documents in the case since March.

READ MORE: EF Hutton borrows $3M against prominent downtown Springfield site

The legal fight had little impact on the financial firm or its future plans, said Jeff Kursman, a spokesman for EF Hutton.

“The issue with Mr. White did not play any involvement in the day-to-day operation of EF Hutton,” Kursman said. “It was a legal matter that was on the sidebar and it’s been addressed.”

EF Hutton now has about 80 employees, Kursman said, and plans to fill 38 positions in its downtown Springfield office as part of a plan to double its workforce by the end of the first quarter next year.

DETAILS: Springfield-based EF Hutton reports $2.1M loss

Various professional positions are open, including a lifestyle magazine editor, building engineer, mobile phone customer care professionals, paralegal and director of information technology. Along with dental, vision and health care, the company said in a news release it also now offers child care services and gym memberships to employees to attract talented staff.

EF Hutton’s staff is a mix of full- and part-time workers, contractors and agency employees, Kursman said, but he declined to provide more information about what percent of the staff is full-time.

Several local leaders have previously said they hope the company’s decision to move to Springfield will create jobs and spur growth downtown. The business purchased two downtown buildings, and has previously said it will invest $22 million and add 400 jobs in downtown Springfield over the next four years.

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of EF Hutton and its decision to make Springfield its corporate headquarters, including stories speaking to analysts, delving into the firm’s financial statements and digging into its past history.

By the numbers

38: Current openings at EF Hutton

80: Current estimated workforce at EF Hutton

$22M: EF Hutton’s pledged investment in Springfield over the next four years

400: EF Hutton’s pledged jobs over the next four years

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