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In House Counsel Tip: Don't Steal Food from Your Company

By Kevin Fayle on April 21, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
It's a lesson that Troy H. Ellis, former chief counsel for Invista, knows all too well, according to this article in the National Law Journal. 

Ellis was recently censured by the Supreme Court of Kansas after he was caught on film stealing food from Invista's onsite cafeteria.  The company claims on its website to be the world's largest producer of nylon and spandex.

Ellis tried to "stretch" his way out of the mess by claiming that the whole imbroglio occurred because he was working so hard that he simply forgot to pay for his meal.  He claims that he intended to cover the cost of the food after he returned from a business trip.
The company forced Ellis to resign after a six year employment, and the Kansas Supreme Court has added a public censure to that ignominy.  The court determined that Ellis violated his professional responsibility and caused "actual injury" to the legal profession.

According to the company, cafeteria workers noticed Ellis selecting food and then walking past them without paying eight times over a five day span.  At that point, security employees installed a camera that eventually captured footage of Ellis' latest dine and dash.

When the general counsel for Koch, Invista's parent company, confronted Ellis about the theft, Ellis denied any wrongdoing - until he saw the video.  He then sent out an email admitting that "I lied.  I stole."

Ironically, Ellis told the court at his hearing that he had received the biggest promotion of his career just before the security camera caught him in the act.  Maybe he thought that free food was one of the job perks?

He should have known better, though - in this economy, just having a job is a perk.

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