Hard to know where to start on this one. It seems that Savvis, Inc. CEO Robert McCormick is being sued by American Express for non-payment of nearly a quarter million dollars he allegedly charged on his corporate card at a strip joint.
NEW YORK (AP) -- American Express is suing the CEO of a communications company for payment of $241,000 worth of disputed credit card charges at a Manhattan topless club.
American Express says in papers filed in state court that Savvis Inc. chief executive officer Robert A. McCormick was in the club Scores in October 2003 with at least three other men.
But wait! Mr. McCormick protests that he spent only 20 grand there. Maybe he's worried about his family man image? (His bio on the company website says, "In 2003, he was named â€œPerson of the Yearâ€? by Service Provider Weekly.")
Now, to be fair, there may be a pattern of fraud here:
The lawsuit filed Wednesday against McCormick and Savvis is at least the third in the past two years involving contested credit card charges at Scores. One patron sued the club after he got a $28,000 bill and another disputed $129,000 in charges.
After a lawsuit last year, Hanover said that "high rollers" visiting Scores' "super elite Presidents' Club" spend thousands of dollars on single bottles of champagne and tip strippers as much as $10,000 for lap dances and for spending time with them.
Could the strip club be taking advantage of these men while they're, um, thinking with the wrong head?
Hanover said that each time a patron spends $10,000, Scores calls the customer's credit card company to get the charges approved. Scores even fingerprints the customer and requires him to get on the telephone with a credit card representative, he said.
"We got authorization for all of the charges," Hanover said of McCormick's visit. "We followed proper procedures and documentation, and we were paid."
Now I'm delighted that the women working there got paid well at his expense -- or at least I hope they did.
But if I were on the Savvis Board of Directors, and saw reports that our CEO spent a quarter million bucks on the corporate credit card to rent some attention from near-naked women, I would question his judgment -- even if the company's raking in the dough. If I were a shareholder (NASDAQ: SVVS), I'd be outraged. Are extravagant outings to titty bars legitimate business expenses? Are lap dances tax deductible? Is this why CEOs demand being paid the big bucks?