Motorola ex-CFO Liska denies destroying evidence, claims 'smear' campaign

In a court filing, former Motorola CFO Paul Liska denied that he destroyed evidence from his company-issued computer after he was fired, and accused Motorola of attempting to "smear" his reputation. Motorola had alleged earlier this month that Liska destroyed key evidence for his whistle-blower lawsuit against the handset maker, and asked that the Cook Country Circuit Court in Illinois bring sanctions against Liska.

Motorola asked the court to make Liska turn over all relevant computers, documents and materials in the case so that Motorola could examine them. The company also sought a hearing to determine the extent to which Liska destroyed evidence. Liska's filing seeks to have the motion seeking sanctions and the motion for evidence denied. Judge Allen Goldberg will hold a hearing on all of the motions today.

The latest court documents, in what has become a bitter dispute between a troubled company and the man formerly tasked with helping to repair it, include sworn statements that Liska took his computer to a consultant to have it wiped of personal information, including personal email and bank account information, but kept all company information on a separate hard drive.

Liska's lawyer, Sean Crotty, said that Motorola broke Illinois state law by asking asking the court to level sanctions for destroying evidence without first asking Liska to provide the evidence that was allegedly destroyed. Crotty then said Motorola alerted the news media to its filing asking for sanctions.

"Clearly, Motorola's agenda here was to smear Mr. Liska in the press, the [Illinois] Supreme Court's rules be damned," the filing states. 

Liska claims he was fired by the company because he questioned the accuracy of financial forecasts for the firm's mobile devices division. Motorola has said Liska filed his whistle-blower lawsuit as a way to cover up his poor performance. The company also said Liska made a "contrived presentation" to the company's board Jan. 28, in which he raised concerns about the handset unit, something Motorola said was done solely so that Liska could file a subsequent retaliatory lawsuit.

Liska said he was fired after a board meeting Jan. 29. When Motorola reported its fourth quarter earnings Feb. 3, it announced his dismissal. Motorola said in a proxy statement Feb. 19 that Liska was fired "for cause." One day later, Liska filed suit, claiming he had been fired as a retaliatory measure.

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