A former chief financial officer at Cooperative Bank in Roslindale, Mass., has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the mutual thrift, alleging he was fired after complaining about conflicts and mismanagement.
Robert Becotte of Newburyport, Mass., sued the $301 million-asset Cooperative Bank under the whistle-blower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in federal court in Massachusetts. Cooperative Bank had not filed a response as of Monday. The lawsuit was first reported by the Boston Globe.
Becotte had worked for Cooperative from September 1997 until he was fired in January 2014. Becotte said he was terminated because he raised concerns with the company's chairman, Joseph Cefalo, and with regulators about the hiring in July 2012 of William O'Neill as president and chief executive, because O'Neill was a dentist with no experience in banking. O'Neill had been the thrift's chairman, before Cefalo's appointment.
Becotte also said he informed Cefalo and regulators about improper behavior by O'Neill's predecessor as president and CEO, who is not named in the lawsuit. That person had placed "secret holds" on the bank accounts of other deposits "when his own account lacked sufficient funds to cover his transactions," the lawsuit said.
A Cooperative Bank spokesman did not immediately return a call Monday seeking comment on the lawsuit.
O'Neill is now retired from the bank. Cooperative Bank on July 21 appointed Phil Bryan president and chief executive. Bryan, who is not mentioned in the lawsuit, was previously chief operating officer of the $271 million-asset Georgetown Bank in Georgetown, Mass.