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Ex Moto Exec Airs Dirty Laundry

Motorola's former CFO, Paul Liska, claims the company purposely misstated financial documents regarding its handset unit, and that he was unjustly fired for trying to blow the whistle.
Motorola's former CFO, Paul Liska, claims the company purposely misstated financial documents regarding its handset unit, and that he was unjustly fired for trying to blow the whistle.This is exactly the type of situation that Motorola needs to be avoiding right now. Paul Liska, the company's former Chief Financial Officer, said in Cook County court documents (obtained by BusinessWeek) that he became alarmed at what he thought were unsupportable projections on 2009 handset sales.

He "develop[ed] concerns that the executives within the Mobile Devices Business were, intentionally or recklessly, materially misstating its 2009 forecasts and strategic plan." He felt the statements would have "a significant deleterious impact on Motorola's credit ratings and relationships, particularly if Mobile Devices' actual results continued to fall well short of its actual forecasts."

When he approached Motorola's board about the issue, he was fired in what he calls a retaliatory discharge.

Motorola didn't take the charge lightly. It contends that Liska cooked up a "scheme designed to portray himself as a whistleblower and demand millions in return for his silence." It also named him a "treacherous officer."

Ouch.

Motorola has been having a hard enough time as it is. The company's handset division is barely a shadow of what it once was. It recently became public that Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha was the highest paid U.S. CEO in 2008, while at the same time, the company has laid off thousands of employees.

It will be up to the Cook County court system to determine who's telling the truth in this matter, but Liska's allegations aren't pretty. All thanks makes a bad situation look all the worse for the U.S. maker of cell phones.