Stronach Group founder and current honourary chairman Frank Stronach has filed a massive lawsuit against his daughter, Belinda Stronach, who is the company’s chairman and president. The suit calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and for Belinda to be removed from the company as both a corporate officer and trustee.
The lawsuit, which was filed on October 1 with Toronto’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleges that Belinda and the company’s chief executive, Alon Ossip, withheld important information from Frank, executed ‘covert and unlawful actions’ that went against the company’s best interests, and ignored Frank’s wishes.
The Stronach Group is one of the world's leading racetrack operators, and its assets include Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course and Gulfstream Park.
An item by the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the 39 ‘demands for relief’ that the suit is calling for. Some of the key demands include $250 million (Canadian) in compensation due to the result of ‘unlawful or oppressive conduct’; $250 million in damages relating to ‘breach of fiduciary duty’ and unlawful conspiracy; $20 million in punitive action; and that Belinda and Ossip be stripped of their corporate officer and trustee positions.
The the Los Angeles Times piece also explains that Frank’s wife, Elfriede, is a co-plaintiff. Belinda’s children, Nicole and Frank Walker, are also co-defendants along with Belinda and Ossip.
Yesterday evening (Wednesday, Oct. 10), Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP and Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, on behalf of Frank and Elfriede Stronach, sent out a statement on the matter. “Frank and Elfriede Stronach regret having to commence proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court against their daughter Belinda, Alon Ossip and others,” the statement reads. “They only did so as a last resort, after having made considerable efforts over a period of almost two years to resolve the matters at issue on a consensual basis.”
Belinda and a spokesman for Ossip have each issued statements in regard to the lawsuit.
“Family relationships within a business can be challenging,” Belinda's statement says. “My children and I love my father. However, his allegations are untrue and we will be responding formally to the statement of claim in the normal course of the court process."
“Alon has always honoured his obligations and acted in good faith to preserve and grow the Stronach family’s assets and to protect the interests of all members of the family,” the statement from Ossip's spokesman said.
The statement went on to say that, “Alon created huge wealth for the family, and he has always operated in a prudent and commercially-sensible manner." The statement goes on to say that the situation "is a dispute between Stronach family members that should be resolved between family members.”
(With files from the Los Angeles Times and CTV News)