Lawsuit Claims OU Regent Embezzled $7.4 Million From Company

Tuesday, November 26th 2019, 4:28 pm
By: Emory Bryan

An Oklahoma manufacturing firm claims former company president, Phil Albert, embezzled at least $7.4 million from Pelco Structural.

Albert is also a Regent for the University of Oklahoma.

He recently filed suit against Pelco, claiming he was wrongfully terminated in April 2019. The allegations against him are contained in a countersuit filed by Pelco.

The Pelco lawsuit against Albert claims he and the former controller for the company, Don Eagleton, worked together to siphon money through overpaid salaries, cash advances, loans and credit cards, while hiding it from the company, investors and the government.

Pelco manufactures steel poles for traffic signals, lighting and communications. Albert is a co-founder of the company. He also is a part owner of the property where Pelco Structural operates.

Albert's lawsuit claims he was terminated after reporting concerns one of Structural's customers had about the quality of their poles. That lawsuit claims a customer, NextEra, told Albert that Structural could have a liability of up to $20 million for damages. Pelco, in court documents, said it had insufficient information to either admit or deny the report of the quality problems.

Albert is asking a judge to order Pelco to return some of his personal property left at the company, to void a non-compete clause in his employment agreement., and order the company to pay him for his ownership stake.

Albert has served on the Claremore Industrial Authority, The Will Rogers Memorial Commission, and as 2017 Board Chairman of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Pelco issued a statement only verifying the company filed a counter suit against Albert over money the company alleges he embezzled. A call to Albert's attorney in Tulsa has not been returned. Court records do not indicate an attorney for Eagleton.

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents issued the following statement late Tuesday:

Since this is a personal matter for Regent Albert, it is inappropriate for us to comment on the lawsuit. That said, Phil is an excellent Regent and we expect him to continue to serve well into the future.