A former personal assistant and nurse to Sir Anthony O’Reilly has sued the Irish businessman in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh claiming that he refused to honor commitments to give her a large number of shares in Heinz Company stock and other investments.
Sir Anthony , 77, is a former CEO of Heinz. as well as former chairman of Independent Newspapers and was Ireland’s best known businessman for decades. He also had a huge presence in Irish American circles and owned Waterford Crystal.
She also claimed that during her 15 years with Sir Anthony she carried out duties “which were unsavory” and “repugnant duties” which are not defined in the lawsuit.
Sabina Vidunas began as Sir Anthony’s personal nurse in 1995. In 2010, the suit alleges, Sir Anthony “told the Plaintiff that he had placed a total of 2,500,000 of these (Heinz) shares in trust for her until she ceased employment with him, at which time, these shares, as well as [other] Heinz shares described above, would be turned over to the Plaintiff," wrote attorneys Joel Sansone and Mel Vatz in the complaint, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
However in 2011 Vidunas was let go and she then "made demand upon O'Reilly for the retirement account which O'Reilly had agreed to establish for the Plaintiff," the attorneys wrote, but he "has refused to turn over the account."
The suit alleges that O’Reilly did not have a formal deal with Vidunas until 2000 and then promised her 343,000 shares of Heinz stock and 2.5 million shares in Providence Resources a Dublin-based oil and gas company, reports TribLive.
The suit claims Sir Anthony paid her $200,000 annually in 2000, but paid her lesser amounts in subsequent years and promised to make up the rest in stock and also to buy her a house in the Bahamas.
None of those promises were met the lawsuit claims.
An October 1, 2000 profile of O’Reilly in the New Zealand Herald referred to the working relationship between them at the time.
It stated “Over the years he (O’Reilly) has put together a formula that smooths the kinks from everyday life: the delightful Sabina at his elbow from dawn until bedtime, gently removing empty teacups, waking him and (wife) Chryss with a cheery rendition of “Oh What A Beautiful Morning,” videoing his speeches for the family record, keeping the VIP cars waiting, lining up the Diet Cokes, attempting the impossible - to keep him on time.”