HOUSTON (CN) - A doctor demoted his chief of staff for refusing to discuss paying off two workers who claimed they saw the doctor sexually assault an unconscious woman, the man claims in court.
Ray von Proctor sued Brown Medical Center fka Surgeon's Management and its chief financial officer Charles Cave, in Harris County Court.
The company's owner, Dr. Michael Brown, is not a defendant in the lawsuit, but plays a prominent role in the complaint.
Brown is a former hand surgeon who started a chain of carpal tunnel clinics. He lost his license in 2006 after testing positive for cocaine, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Brown hired Von Proctor in March 2010, then promoted him to chief of staff for all his companies, according to the complaint.
"In the fall of 2012, Dr. Brown gave plaintiff a note and informed plaintiff how appreciative he was of plaintiff's work and that he intended for plaintiff to work for him for a very long time," the complaint states.
"During the course of plaintiff's employment, plaintiff learned that his name was misappropriated and he was listed as president of at least one entity owned by Michael Brown MD, MG Brown Company, LLC. Plaintiff was not aware he was to be listed with the Florida Secretary of State as the president of the company nor did plaintiff give his permission to do so.
"The company was used to purchase a house for Michael Brown MD in violation of an order issued by a Harris County District Court Judge regarding Michael Brown MD. Once plaintiff learned all these facts he refused to engage in any illegal activity."
Brown is no stranger to legal problems.
The Houston Chronicle reported in March that he was "again in custody," accused of failing to pay child support. A jury acquitted him in September 2011 of felony assault on his wife, and in January this year he "was accused of choking a flight attendant and threatening to strip naked on a flight to Miami," according to the Chronicle.
Brown blamed his behavior on a bad reaction to alcohol and a drug he was taking, the Chronicle reported in a separate article.
In his lawsuit this week, von Proctor claims that the CFO of Brown's companies, defendant Charles Cave, stole his identity to help Brown get credit.
"During the course of plaintiff's employment, defendant's agent, Charles Cave, stole and misappropriated plaintiff's personal information and Social Security number in order to secure $600,000 of credit for defendant Michael Brown Medical Center (funds that could be funneled to Dr. Brown) without informing plaintiff," the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
"Plaintiff only learned of this theft and fraud when American Express informed him and restricted spending on his personal account to no more than $5,000.00. Plaintiff bore the financial responsibility for this account. Defendant did spend money using plaintiff's personal credit. Defendant's illegal use of funds through plaintiff caused a great deal of stress, much which manifested physically, requiring medication and doctor's visits and a very serious threat to plaintiff's health. Defendant's illegal use of plaintiff's personal information to obtain credit and funds through that credit damaged plaintiff's credit with American Express. Plaintiff refused to participate in this illegal activity."
Von Proctor claims he refused to help Brown buy an $8 million house through his company, in violation of a court order.
Van Proctor adds: "During the course of plaintiff's employment, Dr. Brown sent plaintiff a memo ordering them to stop paying the staff support payments for his ex-wife during a contentious divorce or he would 'fire your ass.' This was a direct violation of the temporary orders for support. Plaintiff refused to engage in this illegal activity.
"During the course of plaintiff's employment, two female employees of Dr. Brown produced statements alleging that Dr. Brown sexually assaulted an unconscious woman on his boat in the presence of others. A concern was brought up by others of the potential impact that these statements could have on a pending British Airways criminal case against Dr. Brown.
"When discussions of paying these women money so they would not go forward with the complaints or charges as they could possibly hurt the criminal case against Dr. Brown, plaintiff specifically refused to engage in any conduct of extortion or obstruction of justice, or interfere with any potential criminal charges," the complaint states.
Von Proctor also claims he "refused to obtain or be involved in obtaining prescriptions for Dr. Brown using employees."
The complaint adds: "It was only after plaintiff refused to engage in illegal activities that defendant Brown Medical Center demoted plaintiff from Chief of Staff to Director of Personal Asset Management. Defendant Brown Medical Center also retroactively reduced plaintiff's salary, essentially cutting it to less than half and eliminating plaintiff's bonus."
Von Proctor seeks back pay and front pay and punitive damages for retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, fraud and theft.
He is represented by Ellen Sprovach with Rosenberg & Sprovach of Houston.