Former NBA star, Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale files lawsuit with others against Wolves owner Glen Taylor
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is being sued by a group that includes former NBA star and former Timberwolves general manager and coach, Kevin McHale.
The lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday names Taylor and several other board members of Envoy Medical Corp., a company based in White Bear Lake that makes ear implant devices.
The lawsuit states Taylor is being accused of unjust treatment and fraud, with other defendants including former Envoy board members Franz Altpeter, Chuck Brynelsen and David Fabry. The billionaire bought a 15% stake in the company in 2009 and currently still serves on the board.
Taylor owns the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Minnesota Lynx and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was also a Republican state senator from 1981 to 1990, serving as a minority leader from 1985 to 1987. His estimated net worth is $2.8 billion, according to Forbes. He initially made his money through a Mankato-based printing business, and acquired Envoy in 2015 for $20 million, according to the complaint.
McHale and his wife, Lynn, join former Envoy Medical CEO Patrick Spearman and former Envoy president Shelly Amann in suing the named Envoy board members.
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They allege in the suit that Taylor "controlled the Envoy directors and caused them to make decisions that benefitted Taylor personally at the expense of other shareholders." They also argue that he did this action "out of spite because of his daughter's employment being terminated and because he believed he could make a substantial profit at the expense of the shareholders."
The company was able to sell 600 implants at $30,000 each from 2010 to 2012, according to the complaint.
McHale, a Minnesota native who played for 13 years in the NBA with the Boston Celtics before later working as a coach for the Timberwolves in the 2000s, is involved because he encouraged other investors to put money into Envoy Medical.
Taylor was a member of Envoy's board in 2012 and told Spearman that he planned on "taking [Spearman] out" after his daughter's firing, the complaint says. Spearman and Amman were fired shortly afterward, and Taylor removed Envoy board chairman Roger Lucas, according to the complaint. These firings, Taylor said, were his way of "protecting his daughter," the complaint claims. Taylor told one employee, the plaintiffs add, that he had been spared from being fired "because Taylor's daughter enjoyed working with him."
From there, Spearman and his fellows allege, Taylor “immediately began pushing forward a plan to freeze the company’s progress, position himself to loot its assets, and divest Envoy’s shareholders of their ownership and voting rights.”
The lawsuit also claims Taylor effectively prevented the sale of Envoy to any other parties and gave himself an easy back door to take full control of the company. To do so, they claim, he frequently removed himself from the board only to return as soon as he legally could, effectively maintaining control of Envoy the whole time.
The shareholders go on to claim Taylor and the executives he installed effectively tanked the Envoy shares held by those on the outside of his plan.
To read the full complaint filed in court, click here.