by Lisa A Grimaldi | July 21, 2017
Destinations International and the organization's former CEO Michael Gehrisch have agreed to settle and dismiss a lawsuit between the two parties. A joint statement for the two sides released by Melissa Cherry, DI's chief marketing officer, said "The parties wish to resolve this dispute, to put it behind them and to focus on their future endeavors." It further states that the terms of the settlement would be kept confidential and no additional comments would be forthcoming. 
 
The legal tussle dates back August 2015, when the board of DI, then known as Destinations Marketing Association International, decided to terminate Gehrisch's employment. Following the separation agreement, DI conducted an annual audit that revealed revealed accounting inconsistencies. The association's senior leadership then launched a forensic audit that revealed "significant financial mismanagement" while Gehrisch was CEO, including improper or missing documentation for expenses and alleged misuse of DMAI credit cards by Gehrisch, resulting in losses to DMAI estimated to be at least $350,000.
 
Gehrisch filed a suit against the association on Sept. 2016, asserting a breach-of-contract claim and a claim for the group's failure to pay wages in violation of the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law.
 
The lawsuit Destinations International filed against McDermott Will & Emery LLP for legal malpractice in February 2017 has not been settled. That suit alleges the firm and two of its lawyers gave the association bad advice about how to fire Gehrisch and failed to disclose fully its prior relationships with him. According to the suit, the firm and two of its partners, Banks Brown and Kristin E. Michaels, allegedly advised the association to characterize termination payments to Gehrisch as "salary," thus exposing the group to the former CEO's suit.