NOTE L - COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|6 Months Ended|
Jun. 30, 2011
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Text Block]||
NOTE L – COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
Office Lease Obligations
The Company presently leases approximately 14,000 square feet of office space in Milwaukee, WI for its corporate headquarters. The Milwaukee lease expires in March 2020.
The Company presently leases 16,416 square feet of commercial office space in Germantown, MD. The lease commitments expire in December 2015. On July 15, 2011, Telkonet executed a sublease agreement for 11,626 square feet of its former corporate headquarters located in Germantown, MD. The sublease term will expire on January 31, 2013. The subtenant received a one month rent abatement and has the option to extend the sublease from January 31, 2013 to December 31, 2015.
Commitments for minimum rentals under non cancelable leases at June 30, 2011 are as follows:
Rental expenses charged to operations for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 and 2010 are $152, 843 and $153,197 and $322,835 and $346,610, respectively.
Employment and Consulting Agreements
The Company has employment agreements with certain of its key employees which include non-disclosure and confidentiality provisions for protection of the Company’s proprietary information.
Jason Tienor, President and Chief Executive Officer, is employed pursuant to an employment agreement dated April 11, 2011. Mr. Tienor’s employment agreement is for a term expiring on April 10, 2012, is renewable at the agreement of the parties and provides for a base salary of $200,000 per year. As of the date of this filing, the employment agreement has not been renewed.
Jeff Sobieski, Chief Operating Officer, is employed pursuant to an employment agreement, dated April 11, 2011. Mr. Sobieski’s employment agreement is for a term expiring on April 10, 2012, is renewable at the agreement of the parties and provides for a base salary of $190,000 per year. As of the date of this filing, the employment agreement has not been renewed.
The Company is subject to legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of its business. Although occasional adverse decisions or settlements may occur, the Company believes that the final disposition of such matters should not have a material adverse effect on its financial position, results of operations or liquidity.
Tellabs, Inc. v. Telkonet, Inc.
Our landlord has filed a claim for unpaid rent in a case styled Tellabs, Inc. v. Telkonet, Inc. in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, State of Maryland and was granted a judgment in March 2010 in the amount of $64,966. Pursuant to that judgment, we received a notice of eviction from our landlord for the unpaid rent. We sought to extend the date for eviction but were unable to negotiate a payment plan acceptable to the landlord and voluntarily vacated the space on May 3, 2010. Our landlord has filed an additional claim for unpaid rent and other expenses alleged to be due in a case styled Tellabs, Inc. v. Telkonet, Inc. in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, State of Maryland. A settlement of $110,000 was agreed upon and the suit was dismissed on January 28, 2011. All amounts due were paid in full as of December 31, 2011.
Linksmart Wireless Technology, LLC v. T-Mobile USA, Inc.
On July 1, 2008, Linksmart Wireless Technology, LLC, or Linksmart, filed a civil lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against EthoStream, LLC, our wholly-owned subsidiary and 22 other defendants (Linksmart Wireless Technology, LLC v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., et al, U.S. District Court, for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, No.2:08-cv-00264-TJW-CE). This lawsuit alleges that the defendants’ services infringe a wireless network security patent held by Linksmart. Linksmart seeks a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from infringing, inducing the infringement of, or contributing to the infringement of its patent, an award of damages and attorney’s fees.
On August 1, 2008, we timely filed an answer to the complaint denying the allegations. On February 27, 2009, the USPTO granted a reexamination request with respect to the patent in issue in this lawsuit. Based upon four highly relevant and material prior art references that had not been considered by the USPTO in its initial examination, it found a “substantial new question of patentability” affecting all claims of the patent in suit. On August 2, 2010, the USPTO issued a Final Office Action rejecting every claim of the patent in suit. If this action is upheld on appeal it will result in the elimination of all of the issues in the pending litigation. There is a possibility that the claims of the patent will be reinstated on appeal either in their original form or as amended.
Defendant Ramada Worldwide, Inc. provided us with notice of the suit and demanded that we defend and indemnify it pursuant to a vendor direct supplier agreement between EthoStream and WWC Supplier Services, Inc., a Ramada affiliate (wherein we agreed to indemnify, defend and hold Ramada harmless from and against claims of infringement). After a review of that agreement, it was determined that EthoStream owes the duty to defend and indemnify with respect to services provided by Telkonet to Ramada and it has assumed Ramada’s defense. An answer on Ramada’s behalf was filed in U.S. District Court, for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division on September 19, 2008.
The parties agreed to and the Court ordered a stay of the litigation pending the conclusion of the reexamination proceeding. The case was reopened in early 2012 based on the expectation that the USPTO will issue a reexamination certificate and as of March 16, 2012, a new judge was assigned to the case in view of the impending retirement of the originally assigned judge. A new schedule for the case is expected to be determined by the new judge.
Robert P. Crabb v Telkonet Inc.
On November 9, 2010, a former executive, Robert P. Crabb, served Telkonet, Inc. and Telkonet Communications, Inc. ("Telkonet") with a Complaint in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD alleging (1) violation of Maryland’s Wage Payment and Collection Act (2) Breach of Contract and (3) Promissory Estoppel/Detrimental Reliance. The claims in his Complaint arose out of his retirement in September 2007. In terms of relief, Mr. Crabb sought "severance compensation" in the amount of $156,000, treble damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees. This lawsuit was resolved as part of a voluntary settlement prior to the scheduled four day jury trial beginning on December 12, 2011. On January 25, 2012, the Court entered the parties’ joint Stipulation of Dismissal.
Stephen L. Sadle v. Telkonet, Inc
On April 15, 2011, a former executive, Stephen L. Sadle, served Telkonet, Inc. and Telkonet Communications, Inc. ("Telkonet") with a Complaint in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD alleging (1) Breach of Contract, (2) Promissory Estoppel/Detrimental Reliance and (3) violation of Maryland's Wage Payment and Collection Act. The three claims in his Complaint each arise out of his retirement in 2007. On May 27, 2011, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Sadle's claims. On August 10, 2011, the court granted in full the Defendants' motion to dismiss.
Specifically, the Court dismissed, with prejudice, Plaintiff's claim under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act. However, as part of its Order, the Court permitted Plaintiff to amend his Complaint as to his Breach of Contract (Count II) and Promissory Estoppel/Detrimental Reliance (Count III) claims only within 30 days. On September 14, 2011, Mr. Sadle filed his First Amended Complaint. On September 30, 2011, Telkonet filed its Answer and Counterclaims for Negligence (based on a fiduciary duty) and Recoupment. Mr. Sadle has not yet filed an Answer to Telkonet’s counterclaims. The parties have exchanged written discovery and scheduled preliminary depositions. A hearing on the pending cross-motions for summary judgment was held on March 21, 2012.
In terms of relief, Mr. Sadle is seeking "severance compensation" in the amount of $195,000, treble damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees. Treble damages and attorneys’ fees are only available under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act, however, and therefore should no longer be available to Mr. Sadle in light of the dismissal of that particular claim. Mr. Sadle's Complaint provides no specific accounting for the relief sought. The trial in this case is set for May 14, 2012.
Sales Tax – As Restated
The Company engaged a sales tax consultant to assist in determining the extent of its potential sales tax exposure. Based upon this analysis, management determined the Company had probable exposure for certain unpaid obligations, including interest and penalties, of approximately $921,000 including and prior to the period ended June 30, 2011. The Company has approximately $921,000 accrued as of June 30, 2011. The Company intends to manage the liability by (1) confirming if customer’s self-assessed and remitted tax to the applicable state(s) absent from our transactions (2) confirming if customers were subjected to a state audit and if so did it result in the customer paying tax absent from our transaction (3) invoicing customers for the back taxes and (4) establishing voluntary disclosure agreements with the applicable states, which establishes a maximum look-back period and payment arrangements. However, if the aforementioned methods prove unsuccessful and the Company is audited, there exists possible exposure up to an additional $620,000, not including applicable interest and penalty.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef