Sometimes when there is a dispute among partners of an accounting firm, things can get a little ugly. Sure there’s the sleeping with the other’s spouse/pool boy problems that crop up from time to time but that’s nothing compared to a situation when there’s actually a business reputation, financial considerations and possible federal criminal charges at stake.

Such is the case involving a former tax director at TCBA Watson Rice LLP with the firm’s managing partner. Patrick Largie tasked with preparing the firm’s 2009 tax return and when he got to the “Other Deductions” (line 20, for those of you scoring at home) he noticed a suspicious $1.8 million figure. After investigating further, he determined the amount was ‘inaccurate and false’ that could possibly bring “an IRS investigation and possible criminal charges.” As a result, he brought it to managing partner Bennie Hadnott’s attention. Hadnott didn’t feel it was anything worth raising a fuss over and demanded that Largie sign the return and go on his merry way.

Largie refused and was promptly fired. And yes, of course he sued. But Bennie Hadnott is treating the lawsuit much like he treated the $1.8 million Other Deductions – it’s NBD:

Hadnott labeled the claims “a nuisance lawsuit” and said the dispute was going into mediation on February 4.

“You get those filed all the time,” he said. “You can’t control what people go out there and do. We filed an answer to that, but there was no merit to it. He got mad because he was terminated with cause. People get emotional and go out there and try to sue the whole world, which he did. You have no control over people going out there and filing actions like that.”

So, despite his former colleague sullying the fine TCBA Watson Rice name and also accusing him of misappropriating $500k through bogus loans, Hadnott won’t have it, is taking the high road even though he could make Largie’s life difficult:

Hadnott hinted that Largie’s lawsuit came in retaliation after the firm learned of his actions and dismissed him, but he declined to elaborate on the firm’s claims. “I can really prosecute him for smearing our name, but we are just trying to be cool about it,” he said. “We don’t want to drag him through the mud.”

Other than the part where you make him look like a perfectionist, litigious, asshole crybaby, his name should be just fine.

Partner Sues Firm over Termination [AT]