ADEL, Iowa — An executive for a prominent Iowa seed company is alleging he was wrongly fired by Iowa’s richest man and deprived his right to acquire $80 million worth of corporate stock.
Joseph Saluri filed a lawsuit Tuesday against billionaire Harry H. Stine and Stine Seed Company over his termination after 18 years as general counsel and vice president. It alleges Stine fired Saluri in March as part of a conspiracy to enrich others at Saluri’s expense.
Saluri alleges he was fired after trying to exercise his right to increase his ownership in M.S. Technologies, a Stine company that has agreements with Monsanto for soybean trait technologies. He says Stine officials wanted him to waive his right so the ownership could be acquired by Stine’s former son-in-law, but Saluri blocked the deal.
On Tuesday night, Stine Seed Company general counsel Chad Johnson said in a statement that the company was reviewing the allegations. Johnson added, “We are disappointed that our former lawyer has initiated a lawsuit and disagree with his presentation of the facts and his legal conclusions. We are preparing our response to this lawsuit and will vigorously protect the company, its confidential information and its reputation.”