Seven West Media’s (SWM) ongoing hell from the fallout from its CEO Tim Worner’s affair with former employee Amber Harrison is set to roll on with reports today that Harrison is drowning in legal bills and her only option appears to continue to goad the network into a heftier payout.
The Australian Financial Review has this morning reported that Harrison owes her legal team, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, $330,000 in unpaid fees.
According to the report, Harrison has already stumped up $110,000 to Harmers meaning her legal bills now outweigh her termination payout from SWM that has been reported to be around the $400,000-mark.
As the article infers, “the longer negotiations went on, the harder it became for her (Harrison) to cover her legal costs without a big payout.”
In mid-February, SWM board member Jeff Kennett fumed in the media that Harrison had already been paid too much “for a consensual relationship” and no more shareholder money should be given to its former employee.
Harrison and SWM are currently fighting a gag order in the NSW Supreme Court that prevents Harrison revealing sensitive documents and information she took from her employee prior to her termination. Media outlets – including B&T – have received letters from SWM’s lawyers that prevent publication of any such material.
Initially, Harrison was paid $100,000 in her termination and ordered to repay $17,000 she misused on company cards. However, today’s AFR article suggests it was Harmers that advised Harrison to go for a bigger payout – realising the damage that could be done to Worner and SWM if the affair became public.
SWM agreed to pay her $200,000 immediately, $150,000 in instalments and also agreed not to make her repay $72,000 in false expenses she admitted claiming.
Interestingly, The AFR reports at this time SWM even paid $50,000 of Harrison’s legal bill to Harmers.
Harrison then refused to hand over the sensitive documents required of her and SWM then halted all further payments.
So the Mexican stand-off continues. Harrison won’t cough-up the required documents and SWM has stopped all payments and presently has a gag order over its former employee.
The case returns to the NSW Supreme Court in early July and if Harrison loses again her financial woes will, if not already, be insurmountable. The judge in the case has urged mediation between the two parties.
The AFR had contacted Harmers for clarification of facts in its article who replied its reporting wasn’t “accurate” but declined to offer any further clarification.