The kitschy details of an affair between Johnson Control’s CEO and the principal of its management consulting firm, Lichter & Ihle, have begun to emerge.
According to Bloomberg, Johnson Controls CEO, Alex Molinaroli has been having an extramarital affair with Kristin Ihle, co-founder and owner of Lichter & Ihle. News of the affair came to light after a hearing in which Ihle filed a restraining order petition against Patsy Molinaroli, Alex Molinaroli’s wife.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Patsy, Molinaroli’s wife of 28 years, has testified that she learnt of the affair around Memorial Day Weekend, when her estranged husband came to a family cookout and revealed his involvement with Ihle.
USA Today revealed that, Patsy sent an email to Ihle threatening to “destroy you, your family and business, just as you have done to me,” according to a hearing transcript. That same day, Patsy Molinaroli is alleged to have fired four shots from a.38-caliber pistol and destroyed a china cabinet and other property with an aluminum baseball bat. She filed for divorce in June.
The email prompted Ihle to file a petition for a restraining order against Patsy, claiming that she felt threatened and fears for her life.
In a document filed with her petition, Ihle said the Molinarolis was already estranged, and that she too was separated from her husband and would be filing for divorce. Two weeks after Ihle’s petition, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Carl Ashley held a hearing on her request for an order barring Patsy Molinaroli from having any contact with her. Ashley dismissed the case, saying Ihle hadn’t met the burden of proof for harassment under Wisconsin law.
Since then, Johnson Controls has severed ties with Lichter & Ihle and will no longer be using the services of the consulting firm.
A statement from a Johnson Controls spokesman explains the company’s position on the matter.
“The board reviewed the referenced relationship and determined that no conflicts of interest occurred. To avoid any perception or potential future conflicts, management elected to terminate the consulting firm. Mr. Molinaroli continues in his role with full support of the board, and the company considers this matter to be closed.”
Jeffery Smith, Professor of ethics at the University of Redlands School of Business in California, in an email response to the Journal Sentinel, said that Alex Molinaroli should have disclosed the relationship so as to avoid ethical issues.
Johnson Controls has won awards for promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance.
[Image via Journal Sentinel]