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Putnam Cos. File Lawsuit To Block Former Employees From Investors

September 9, 1986

BOSTON (AP) _ Putnam Cos., one of the nation’s largest mutual-fund managers, has sued a group of former executives, claiming they conspired to steal the business.

The lawsuit filed by Putnam in Suffolk County Superior Court alleges that Walter Oechsle, former president of the Putnam International subsidiary, and 10 other former officers and employees entered a conspiracy to resign together and take Putnam investors with them.

The 11 walked out of Putnam last month and have since set up shop next door in Boston’s financial district, as Oechsle International Advisors. The lawsuit was filed Aug. 26, five days after the resignations.

″This group includes virtually all of Putnam’s professionals devoted to the international equity investment field,″ Putnam President Lawrence J. Lasser testified in an affidavit. If unchecked, the former employees could ″cripple or destroy the business of Putnam International,″ he said.

In the lawsuit, Putnam accuses Oechsle and other senior managers of scheming to steal Putnam investors while employees at Putnam and then resigning en masse with little formal notice.

Lesser said Oechsle informed him Aug. 20 that he was leaving. The next day, Lesser said he was handed an envelope addressed in Oechsle’s handwriting containing 11 identical resignations.

In addition to permanently barring Oechsle and the other former employees from any dealings with Putnam investors, the lawsuit seeks damages it said may exceed $20 million.

Edmund Case, a lawyer at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, the firm representing the former employees, called the lawsuit groundless.

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