Ex-Barnes & Noble CEO sues, claims he was fired without justification

The former chief executive of Barnes & Noble Inc. is suing the bookseller, accusing the company’s executive chairman of fabricating reasons to fire him about a month after a deal to sell the company fell apart.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, Demos Parneros accuses Barnes & Noble BKS, -3.64%  of firing him “without warning or justification.” He also said the company damaged his reputation by using language when it announced his firing that it “knew full well was false but would be read as reporting that Parneros had engaged in serious sexual misconduct.”

Parneros’s claim about Barnes & Noble being in talks about a potential sale hadn’t previously been reported.

Barnes & Noble fired Parneros in July, citing unspecified company policy violations, and said he wouldn’t receive any severance pay. In announcing Parneros’s firing, the company said a group of three executives would perform CEO duties until the post is filled. Barnes & Noble also said Executive Chairman Leonard Riggio would continue to play a leadership role. Parneros had served as CEO for about 16 months.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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