ST. LOUIS - Two titans of law clashed on the first day of testimony in the Francine Katz v. Anheuser-Busch sex discrimination case.
Katz arrived at the civil courts building with her attorney Mary Ann Sedey around 8 a.m. Tuesday. Katz was the highest paid female executive at Anheuser-Busch. She made millions as vice president of Corporate Communications and according to her attorney, expanded the job by creating new anti-drunk driving advertising and educational campaigns, she spoke before Congress, appeared on "60 Minutes," lobbied governors and attorneys general on behalf of the company.
Yet, she was paid much less than her predecessor, John Jacob. In opening statements Sedey claimed Katz was paid about $1 million a year in salary, stock and bonuses, while Jacob made more than $4 million a year.
"This is your basic good old boys network, a company run by men, who were unaccustomed to working with women at high levels and uncomfortable working with women in these big jobs," said Sedey.
The defense, led by Jim Bennett, told jurors Francine Katz was good at her job, but she was no John Jacob, a civil rights icon, an established leader, and the most trusted confidant of August Busch III. He also told jurors, Katz made 130 percent more than most PR executives.
"Her W-2 for 2008 says $14.3 million in wages and compensation from Anheuser-Busch and for what she was doing that was not only fair, it was more than fair," said Bennett.
At the end of the day Katz took the stand trying to convey to jurors that if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone and that is why she filed suit.
"I felt what was done was wrong. The only way this will ever be changed is if someone has the courage and opportunity to bring it to light, "she said.
Katz will be back on the stand Wednesday followed by the videotaped deposition of John Jacob.
Follow Leisa Zigman from the courtroom @leisazigman or #ksdkabtrial.