Ugly Fight Brews Between Cantor's Howard Lutnick and Former Assistant

(Bloomberg) -- Howard Lutnick, the famously sharp-elbowed chief of Wall Street trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP, has gotten sideways with the one person who may pose the greatest threat to him: his now-former personal assistant.

Taylor Shaw, who worked as an aide to Lutnick, left the firm earlier this month after just 15 weeks in the job. Since her departure, she has refused to return two company laptops that were issued to her to manage the business and personal affairs of Lutnick, his wife and their children, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by Cantor Fitzgerald in New York state court.

Shaw is apparently considering filing her own lawsuit against the company, and retained records of emails and text messages from Lutnick and his wife that "would not be pretty" if they became public, according to Cantor Fitzgerald’s lawsuit.

Shaw’s lawyer, Jonathan S. Sack, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

“Sack did not specifically say whether he was threatening to disclose these communications in a court filing, to the press, or to some other third party,” Cantor Fitzgerald said in its lawsuit. “Implicit in his threat is that Sack would reveal the confidential communications if the company did not accede to his demand for cash payment.”

Cantor Fitzgerald claims that any records of communications in Shaw’s possession are company property and must be returned, along with the laptops. In her role as a personal assistant, Shaw had access to confidential corporate information as well as knowledge of the personal and professional affairs of Lutnick and his family, the company said.

Her duties included managing their professional and social calendars, booking personal and medical appointments, coordinating family travel, personal service requests and overseeing the childrens’ schedules, "making her privy to the most intimate and private details concerning the Lutnick family members." She was also given log-in credentials for financial accounts and medical records, family members’ personal computers and had keys and access codes to family homes.

Under the terms of her employment contract, Shaw was supposed to return the laptops and any other corporate property upon leaving the job, according to the lawsuit. But after quitting, she refused to return to the office for an exit interview or return the property, Cantor Fitzgerald said. The firm demanded she do so by Monday at 12 p.m. When the deadline passed, the suit was filed shortly afterward.

The case is Cantor Fitzgerald Securities v. Shaw, Supreme Court, State of New York (Manhattan)

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