In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Parneros accused B&N Founder Leonard Riggio of plotting his “firing without cause” and releasing a press release announcing his firing that "falsely and irrevocably damaged" his reputation. The firing for cause also prevents Parneros from collecting a hefty severance check, according to reporting in Forbes. The suit includes a long list of specific allegations against Riggio.
The hostility apparently intensified when a proposed deal to sell Barnes & Noble failed to come to fruition. According to the complaint, “In spring 2018, a book retailer made an offer to purchase B&N. B&N decided to accept this offer.” Riggio, who is a major B&N shareholder, allegedly became hostile towards Parneros after the deal fell through in June. The complaint also says Riggio stopped answering Parneros’ telephone calls or texts, yet continued to meet with other company execs.
Current Barnes & Noble executives are firing back at Parneros’ allegations. “The lawsuit filed by Demos Parneros is nothing but an attempt to extort money from the Company by a CEO who was terminated for sexual harassment, bullying behavior and other violations of company policies after being in the role for approximately one year,” said B&N’s Board in a statement.