A Lewiston business owner sued a local credit union, claiming an employee looked at his account without authorization.
Eric Christiansen, who used to organize motorsports events at the Lewiston Roundup grounds before his contract was severed last year, is suing Potlatch No. 1 Financial Credit Union and former Lewiston Roundup President Michael Moser. Moser also works as a mortgage manager at P1FCU.
The lawsuit claims Moser looked over Christiansen’s banking with the credit union and decided the Roundup would not renew motorsport events with Christiansen after seeing the money he earned from sponsorships and expenses for the events. The Roundup board chose to start its own demo derby without Christiansen.
The lawsuit claims damages in excess of $10,000 in an amount to be determined at trial and made a number of allegations, including negligent supervision of an employee, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress. P1FCU and Moser have been issued summonses, but no response to the initial complaint has been filed.
Christiansen claims in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Nez Perce County 2nd District Court by his attorney, Trae Turner, that a former Lewiston Roundup board member informed Christiansen that his accounts were accessed. Christiansen claims the unidentified former board member told him the Roundup board voted on not renewing Christiansen’s contracts the spring before it was announced.
Turner said he does not know the identity of the former board member who tipped off Christiansen to the alleged activity, but that the person will likely be identified once evidence-gathering begins in earnest in the case.
Efforts to reach representatives of P1FCU were unsuccessful Wednesday.
The suit comes just weeks before the rodeo, the largest event at the Lewiston Roundup grounds, kicks off.
Previous Tribune reporting shows the Roundup board framed the discontinued work with Christiansen as purely a business move intended to bring more money to the Roundup and keep purses competitive for the rodeo. The board went with a Walla Walla-based motorsports promoter to book a demo derby. Christiansen had organized motorsports at the arena since 2006.
According to the lawsuit, Christiansen met with P1FCU Vice President Patti Meshishnek and CEO Chris Loseth in April to try to determine if an employee breached Christiansen’s privacy and accessed his account. More than a week after meeting with P1FCU leadership, Christiansen was provided with a report that showed his accounts were allegedly accessed by Moser numerous times since 2016. The lawsuit claims that during business hours while Moser was working at one of P1FCU’s branches, he allegedly accessed Christiansen’s accounts twice in 2016, three times in 2017 and three times in April 2018.
The lawsuit claims Christiansen did not give Moser permission to access the accounts and the breach of privacy was allegedly used by the Roundup board “against Mr. Christiansen to his detriment in contract negotiations.” Christiansen also alleges P1FCU leadership knew about the breach and attempted to “cover up” the unauthorized access when it was discovered four months prior to Christiansen meeting with credit union leadership.
Turner said discovery in the case is ongoing.
“Christiansen does not have any comment regarding any pending litigation against other persons or entities at this time,” Turner said.
Holm may be contacted at (208) 848-2275 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomHolm4.