Ex-exec slams Wal-Mart for smear campaign

Julie Roehm calls retail giant's countersuit against her for traveling at company's expense with a colleague and for misusing ad agency review process an 'attack.'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A former marketing executive for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said the retailer's actions against her are a "smear campaign."

"Wal-Mart has concocted a smear campaign against me," Julie Roehm said in a statement released by her attorney, John Schaefer.

Roehm was fired by the retail giant on Dec. 4 after less than a year as head of marketing communications at the world's largest retailer. She sued the company, claiming breach of contract and fraud.

Wal-Mart (Charts) countersued Roehm, claiming she and a marketing colleague had a romantic relationship, traveling on the company's dime, and used a review of advertising agencies to seek jobs at one of those agencies.

"Wal-Mart is insinuating things about my personal life and pretending I violated some code of ethics with advertisers, all to distract from the reality that it didn't want my form of progressive marketing," Roehm's statement said.

"As in other cases, Wal-Mart has attacked the victim."

Wal-Mart accused Roehm and former executive Sean Womack of traveling at the company's expense ostensibly on Wal-Mart business in order to spend time together.

Wal-Mart also charged the executives with misuse of the agency review process, accepting gifts from advertising agency DraftFCB, which was later chosen to handle Wal-Mart's ad account, and of discussing job opportunities with that agency.

Wal-Mart said in the suit that Roehm had violated company policy that prohibits inappropriate relationships between supervisors and associates - and forbids accepting gifts from suppliers.

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