Whisteblower complaint filed against Hermitage management

DEERFIELD VALLEY — A former employee of Hermitage Club has filed a whistleblower complaint against the company’s management.

Robert Balewicz, former manager of the Hermitage Club’s real estate arm, Hermitage Club Realty LLC, alleges that he was fired after complaining of illegal accounting activities and illegal kickbacks. Balewicz filed a formal complaint with the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, stating the alleged illegal activities are related to real estate referral fees to Jim Barnes, the Hermitage Club’s founder and CEO, and the company’s legal department, accounting department and human resources.

OSHA acknowledged receipt of the "whistleblower retaliation complaint" in a letter dated Jan. 30. OSHA is responsible for enforcing the whistleblower provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, the letter says. The federal organization will be conducting an investigation.

The Hermitage Club released a statement on Tuesday saying it does not comment on personnel matters.

"We will confirm, however, that the complainant was terminated for cause after following institution of, and a failure to meet, the terms of a performance improvement plan, and after consumer complaints against the employee were brought to light," according to the statement. "Hermitage Club Realty has also filed numerous complaints […]

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