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After lawsuit, control of Cincinnati Inc. returned to founding family

After a trial a Hamilton County, Ohio, majority control of Cincinnati Inc., a maker of machine tools, was returned to Christina March, a descendant of the founder, according to a report in the Business Courier. The jury found that March's estranged husband, Michiel Schuitemaker, the company's CEO since 2008, had breached his fiduciary duty to the company and awarded March $8.6 million in damages plus legal fees, the article said. March had sued as a shareholder on behalf of the company, according to the report.

Perrin March III, March's father and the company's former CEO, is suing to remove Schuitemaker as trustee of trusts set up for the children of March and Schuitemaker. The trusts own the remainder of company shares not owned by Christina March, the article said. That part of the case is still pending.

Schuitemaker had contended that March's effort to gain control threatened to cut off funding for the funding the business, the article said. In 2010, Cincinnati Inc.'s real estate and plant equipment were sold to two LLCs owned by Schuitemaker and the children's trusts. The company controls those assets through lease-back agreements with the LLCs, attorneys told the Business Courier.

An earlier Business Courier reportnoted that the company, which has about 350 employees, is one of the largest machine tool manufacturers in the U.S. Schuitemaker, born in the Netherlands, is a former racecar driver and motorsports entrepreneur.

According to the earlier report, Perrin March III "initially sided with Schuitemaker, [whom] he had installed as CEO at the beginning of the 2008 recession and who managed to pull the company through when tool orders ground to a virtual halt." The report said that Perrin March seized shares owned by his daugher after she defaulted on a loan to her father; he later contended that Schuitemaker induced him to seize the shares.

In arguing that Schuitemaker breached his fiduciary duty to the company, Christina March cited self-dealing transactions that benefited him personally, the earlier report said. (Source: Business Courier, Dec. 6, 2012 and Nov. 12, 2012.)



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