After accusations of forcing employees to visit strip clubs and brothels, Servotronics CEO resigns

Then President and CEO Ken Trbovich and Executive Vice-President Bob Breton of The Ontario Knife Company -parent company Servotronics, Inc. -break ground on new manufacturing plant expansion in 2014. (PRNewsFoto/The Ontario Knife Company)

Geoff Herbert

An Upstate New York manufacturer’s top executive has resigned after being accused of forcing his employees to visit strip clubs and brothels, according to a new report.

Servotronics Inc., located in Elma, N.Y., announced Monday that Kenneth D. Trbovich has resigned as president and CEO and been removed as chairman of the board after a nearly six-month-long internal investigation identified grounds for his termination.

The Buffalo News reports Trbovich was put on administrative leave June 8 and an internal investigation was launched after a then-employee filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Buffalo, alleging that Trbovich forced male employees to visit strip clubs and “engage” with prostitutes at brothels while on business trips paid for by Servotronics and its subsidiaries. Trbovich was also accused of sexually harassing female contractors and using his company expense account to pay for trips with women.

Servotronics said an investigation by an independent, outside counsel concluded the company had grounds to fire Trbovich. He resigned a day before a board meeting was scheduled Dec. 22.

Servotronics said its current Chief Operating Officer James C. Takacs will assume the responsibilities of the company president and CEO while the board of directors searches for a permanent replacement for Trbovich.

According to the Buffalo News, Trbovich remains a director of the company and is claiming he is entitled to severance pay, but the board says he breached his employment agreement and is not eligible for severance due to a “voluntary resignation.”

Servotronics, founded in 1959, is a publicly traded company known for designing, developing and manufacturing control and components for products that include outer space, military and commercial aircraft. The business includes a second group that specializes in making cutlery, bayonets, pocket knifes, machetes, and other products for commercial and government customers.

“Our highly skilled workforce and experienced management team have ensured that Servotronics continues to deliver on its reputation for meeting and exceeding government, defense, commercial, consumer and other customers’ high standards for quality and reliability, which has been built over more than six decades,” the board’s non-employee directors said in a statement. “This team has delivered sequential sales growth in the second and third quarters of this year, while continuing to invest in people, product development, and production capabilities that are designed to position Servotronics for the future. We look forward to providing Jim Takacs and his team with the resources they need to continue executing, while the Board conducts an active search for a new CEO.”

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