Former Disney Accountant is Now Suing the Walt Disney Company in Federal Court After Filing a Series of SEC Complaints
Sandra Kuba, a former Walt Disney Company senior financial analyst who had previously filed complaints about the company to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is now suing the Walt Disney Company.
Kuba has filed a federal lawsuit against Burbank, California-based Disney Financial Services on Tuesday on accusations that she was fired after she raised red flags on the company’s accounting practices. In the lawsuit, Kuba seeks unspecified damages, including back pay and attorney’s fees, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The new federal lawsuit reveals that Kuba believed Disney was manipulating its books. Kuba said she noticed revenue reported several times for the same transaction and “nonsense entries that camouflaged the altered transactions flow created by Financial Systems.” The department that runs Disney’s internal control and fraud investigation added more “guest inconvenience promotion charge codes” instead of auditing the figures, which resulted in recorded revenue that did not exist and needed to be reversed,” Kuba said in the lawsuit.
“On a number of occasions throughout her career, (Kuba) reported her concerns about Disney’s policies, practices, and procedures that she genuinely and reasonably believed were unethical, improper or illegal to Disney’s management,” the lawsuit states. “Each time, (Kuba) suffered from harassment, hostility, and retaliation as a result.”
Kuba filed the SEC whistleblower complaint in August 2017, while she was out on medical leave. When she returned back to work the following month, she was fired. She then filed a Human Resources retaliation complaint with the company.
Kuba believes that “Disney terminated her employment as a direct result of both her internal complaints and her SEC whistleblower complaint,” per the lawsuit. “Throughout her employment at Disney, (Kuba) worked incredibly hard and consistently received positive performance reviews.”
However, a Disney spokesperson told MarketWatch in 2019 that “the claims presented to us by this former employee — who was terminated for cause in 2017 — have been thoroughly reviewed by the company and found to be utterly without merit; in fact, in 2018 she withdrew the claim she had filed challenging her termination. We’re not going to dignify her unsubstantiated assertions with further comment.” The spokesperson at the time also claimed that Kuba’s recent claim is “utterly without merit.”
The Walt Disney Company has called the new lawsuit “meritless” and plans to fight it in court.