W.Va. man accused of sexual misconduct

October 26, 1997


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Chicago businesswoman has accused the president of a Martinsburg beer distribution firm with sexual misconduct and fraud in a $30 million lawsuit filed in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Susan Sharpe accused Robert A. McMillan, president of Jefferson Distributing Co. and Data Genesis Corp. in Martinsburg, of a long-running campaign to coerce her to have sex with him and firing her when she refused. Sharpe also alleges that McMillan swindled her out of her interest in Data Genesis, a company she says she co-founded, and in which McMillan invested.

Sharpe has sued for lost wages, the value of her interest in Data Genesis, compensation for injuries caused by the alleged unwanted sexual overtures, and punitive damages.


McMillan declined comment and referred questions to his lawyer, Allan Slagel of Chicago. Slagel said McMillan "denies all the allegations of the complaint or that he committed any wrongdoing whatsoever." He said Sharpe had filed a similar suit in federal court in Illinois and said that suit was dismissed late last year. Sharpe was appealing that dismissal, Slagel said.

Sharpe alleges that she and Data Genesis Vice President Robert Moroney started the firm in Illinois in 1990 to develop and market computer marketing software for the insurance industry. McMillan agreed to invest up to $1 million in the firm, and employ Moroney and Sharpe until he recouped his investment, the complaint says. The suit alleges that McMillan agreed to transfer the company back to Sharpe and Moroney after McMillan regained his investment.

Sharpe says McMillan's intent was to utilize the leverage gained by his acquisition of Data Genesis to coerce her to have sex with him and acquire the firm for little or no money.

Sharpe alleges that when she refused sex with McMillan, he fired her and took her interest in Data Genesis.

Slagel said McMillan expects to prevail in the suit.

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