NEW YORK (AP) - A Saks Fifth Avenue personnel executive has filed a $10 million libel suit against a former friend, charging that he displayed a sign that called him a thief at a nationally televised wrestling event.

Peter Goldschmidt, 37, says in court papers that on Sept. 25 Robert Catell held up a large yellow sign at a WCW wrestling program in the Nassau Coliseum in full view of TNT television cameras. The sign read, "P. GOLDSCHMIDT STEALS FROM SAKS," court papers say.

Goldschmidt's lawyer, Michael Mossberg, said Catell's stunt was meant to embarrass his client because the two men fell out after Goldschmidt was unable to help Catell move to a new residence on a work day.

Court papers say Catell, who grew up with Goldschmidt on Long Island, held his high school pal up to "public contempt and ridicule, disgrace and prejudice" and caused him mental pain and anguish. For about a year, Catell had been displaying other signs at other events in view of television cameras, Mossberg said. He said the signs read "Peter Goldschmidt Loser 4 Life." Mossberg said Goldschmidt had "laughed it off," but the sign at the Nassau Coliseum prompted him to sue.

Catell, a Long Beach resident and a salesman at WFAN radio, called the sign a "prank" done "in humor." He said Goldschmidt should have called him rather than a lawyer if he had a problem with the sign. Catell said he had not spoken to Goldschmidt in about two years. He acknowledged that he and his former pal are estranged but would not say why. The lawsuit asks $5 million actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages against Catell.