Local News

Ex-Employees' Credibility Questioned in Sex Harassment Case

Posted September 27, 2007 11:51 a.m. EDT
Updated September 27, 2007 6:54 p.m. EDT

— Defense witnesses continued to chip away Thursday at the claims of several men who said they were fired by Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q founder and Chief Executive Gregory Moore after refusing his sexual advances.

Jason Hallaman sued Moore three years ago for sexual harassment, alleging he was fired as Moore's personal assistant in 2002 after he rebuffed several advances from Moore.

Earlier this week, four other former Smithfield's employees – Lowell Kirk, John Vann, Paul Boyd and Randy Martin – testified that they also had been fired from their jobs between 2002 and last year after rejecting sexual overtures from Moore.

Steven Blue testified Thursday that he worked at Moore's farm and purchased horses with Martin. He said Martin bought horses for the farm that weren't up to Moore's standards.

Jeremy Smith, a private contractor who once attended a party with Martin, said Martin was made advances toward him.

Current Smithfield's employees Russell Boisvert and Amy Obermieller testified that Vann botched a job involving a tax package and disputed his claim that he served as Moore's chief of staff.

Hallaman's attorney's challenged Obermieller about her knowledge about what may have occured outside the company's Cary headquarters, noting the Hallaman and the other former employees alleged Moore's sexual advances were made at other locations.

Moore has acknowledged, in pretrial documents, that he is bisexual, but denied any wrongdoing in the case.

Defense attorneys have said Hallaman was fired because of poor job performance and because he had signed Moore's name to a check for auto detailing services.

Moore's daughter, Margaret, on Wednesday disputed Hallaman's claims that her father went into Hallaman's bedroom during a 2002 trip to the family's beach house.