Once upon a time, Paul Jannuzzo embodied the U.S. firearm industry. Recently sprung from prison, he’s gunning for Glock GmbH, the Austrian pistol manufacturer he once served as an executive and in-house lawyer. Jannuzzo says that he and his attorneys are researching a potential civil lawsuit for malicious prosecution against his former employer and its founder and owner, Gaston Glock, who resides in southern Austria.
I recently met Jannuzzo for lunch in Savannah, Ga., where he and his wife, Monika, also a former Glock employee, have been decompressing since the Georgia Court of Appeals last month reversed his conviction for embezzling from the gun company and ordered him released. In the 1990s, Jannuzzo, a former prosecutor, debated gun-control advocates on national television, fought municipal lawsuits against the firearm industry, and, in anomalous moment, irritated the National Rifle Association by visiting the White House to pose for a Rose Garden photo with President Bill Clinton.
Then, in 2003, Jannuzzo had a falling out with Gaston Glock and quit the company. Glock subsequently accused him of conspiring with a second senior executive to siphon off corporate funds. The other executive pled guilty and received probation. Jannuzzo fought the charges, leading to his conviction last year in Cobb County, Ga., where Glock has its U.S. facility. Last month, the appellate court threw out the conviction, finding that the statute of limitations on Jannuzzo’s offenses had already expired when the Cobb County district attorney indicted him in 2009. The reversal didn’t address the merits of the accusations against the former Glock executive. Jannuzzo says he didn’t do anything illegal, and, in any event, his former boss, Gaston Glock, always approved of his actions. Josh Dorsey, a vice president with Glock Inc., the company’s U.S. subsidiary, and John Renzulli, a longtime outside lawyer for Glock, didn’t return phone messages seeking comment.
Jannuzzo attributes his bitter split with Gaston Glock to a rivalry for the affections of Jannuzzo’s wife, Monika, who joined us for lunch. Monika describes a memorable conversation with Glock back in 2003, after she and Jannuzzo announced they were leaving the company. During a meeting at the airport in Atlanta, Glock told her, “We need to take our friendship to the next level,” Monika Jannuzzo says. Toward that end, she adds, the firearm magnate invited her to move to Austria. “If you don’t come to Vienna, Jannuzzo is finished,” Gaston Glock said at the time, according to Monika.
She stuck with Jannuzzo, and years later Glock made his accusations. Paul Jannuzzo says he will seek a new day in court to prove that his former employer did him wrong over the alleged romantic spurning. Any malicious prosecution action he might consider would collide with a significant obstacle: the sworn testimony of his fellow former Glock executive that the two of them took from the company hundreds of thousands of dollars that wasn’t theirs.
All the melodrama may seem over the top, but at Glock, it’s pretty standard. (I wrote a book that describes the controversies that have swirled around the company since it started in the early 1980s in Gaston Glock’s garage.) In 1999, for example, Gaston Glock’s top European financial adviser tried to have him assassinated in a Luxembourg parking garage (for which the adviser was convicted and imprisoned). More recently, the Glock family has been torn by a feud between the patriarch and his ex-wife, Helga, who are fighting in court over hundreds of millions of dollars and control of the eponymous company. Jannuzzo says that he has been in touch with intermediaries for Helga and her three children, although what, if anything, those contacts might lead to isn’t clear.
Strangely, despite his recent troubles, which included being arrested in the Netherlands and extradited back to the U.S., Jannuzzo says he retained his law license. While locked up in Georgia before and after his trial, the former prosecutor says he provided informal legal advice to fellow inmates, including members of a Gangster Disciples chapter who looked after his security behind bars. Thinking about household safety now, Jannuzzo says he’s considering a handgun purchase: a Sig Sauer, not a Glock.