John D. Williams earned the nickname "Mr. Scrabble" for spending more than two decades of his life promoting the popular word game. Now Williams has filed a lawsuit against Scrabble maker Hasbro, claiming he is owed slightly more than $1 million in back pay for unpaid annual bonuses. Things first turned frosty between Williams and his former employer when Hasbro stopped funding the National Scrabble Championship in 2013, an annual competition run by Williams and for which he served as the official spokesperson.
Williams contends that Hasbro promised to reward him with a bonus of $10,000 for every retail sales increase of 1 percent that occurred between 2005 and 2013, but that he never received one check from the company to fulfill that obligation. Williams and his attorneys have calculated that he earned roughly $1 million in fees during that eight-year period and they are now attempting to claim his rightful bonuses by using the long arm of the legal system to force Hasbro to fulfill its financial commitments. Williams contends his company was responsible for helping make Scrabble popular in more than 120 countries globally, where more than 150 million games have been sold in 25 languages.