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Tuesday 11 Jan 2011

RMJM’s troubles continue

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11/01/11 Random Task, Motown
SSDF, gang. The same thing happened to the legendary firm Yamasaki. When the company changed hands, all of their assets were tranferred over to a company with the suffix "International" slapped on the back of it. When things went south, a ton of really good designers and architects were left holding nothing but memories and hopes of what could have been; it was terrible. I pray that all of the folks who deserve to be paid get paid in full and do not have to endure the pointless procedure of asking their states Attorney General for assistance. Good luck, my fellow archi-junkies! It can only get worse from here...
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US employees sue RMJM for $664,000 

The Scottish practice RMJM is being sued by employees in the United States over claims it owes them hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the lawsuit filed last month in New Jersey and detailed in Building Design magazine, RMJM director Sir Fraser Morrison and his son, Peter, the company’s CEO, have reneged on the $24m deal that would merge the Scottish practice with the US-based Hiller Group.

RMJM has denied it siphoned off cash from Hillier but said it plans to pay its US staff the remaining $664,000 they are owed as part of a $1.5m cash bonus they were promised in 2009 as part of the merger deal. The lawsuit further accuses RMJM of asset-stripping and ‘siphoning off corporate funds’ worth up to $8m from Hillier, now known as RMJM Inc.; planning to cease ‘most or all’ of its operations in Princeton this month following the closure of its Philadelphia operations in June; and trying to disguise the fact that Sir Fraser and Peter Morrison are the ‘alter egos’ of RMJM and should thus be held liable for the cash.

The news is the latest in a long list of troubles that have rocked the firm from the enviable perch as one of the leading design practices in the world. About the allegations a spokesperson for RMJM said: “We’re surprised and disappointed at this move, as its well-documented that like virtually every practice, we’ve had to manage our cash carefully for the past 18 months. However, we fully expect the final $664K payment of the $24m we paid to Hillier to be made in the near future and for the matter to be resolved to everyone’s satisfactions.”

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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