It’s family business hump day here at DealBreaker, with those wacky Bancrofts (or at least some of them) trying to stonewall the News Corp bid for Dow Jones. In other, more Midwestern family troubles, Curtis Nelson, former COO and President of the Carlson Companies, has sued his former employer and its current CEO, which happens to be his mom. Curtis is the grandson of the company founder Curt Carlson, who started the company in 1938 with a $55 loan and some Brylcreem. Today, the Carlson Companies is one of the largest family-owned companies in the US with over $5bn in annual revenue.
Carlson Nelson, the son of Curt Carlson (the son of Nelson Carlson Curt Nelson Carlson), was ousted as CEO of the Carlson Companies last year, and banned from the corporate headquarters (he kept showing up out front holding up a boombox playing "In Your Eyes"). This is when mommy dearest decided that the whole Carlson primogeniture thing wasn’t flying, so she decided to cut the cord and not hire her son as the company’s next CEO.
One of her more minor qualms was her son’s rampant drug addiction, from the Minneapolis StarTribune:
Despite the agreement to stay sober, "Curtis used his company computer and company e-mail system -- in 2006, while he was president and COO -- to make purchases of large quantities of controlled substances from multiple on-line pharmacies," the company response said. "He also ordered a product called 'Quick-Detox,' which is advertised as helping users to 'pass any drug test!!!' "
Curtis had a liver transplant in 2000 after mucking up his first one with painkillers. Curtis, new liver in gut, quickly returned to his happy hobby. He vowed to kick drugs for good after a forced leave of absence from the company in 2003. Now Curtis, back in the habit again, has been permanently cut from his duties.
Curtis is not taking his banishment to the time-out step well, and claiming in his lawsuit that he was the rightful heir to the Carlson throne.
Even if Carlson is ultimately left on the curb, the man can afford prescription drugs. Not only does his severance package include continuing health insurance, but the man did earn a $5.5mm bonus last year from the company and $5.4mm more over the last two years from dividend cash distributions.
This is a page taken from the Liesel “Little Princess” Pritzker school of family lawsuits. Liesel, the Paris Hilton of Hyatt (sans herpes, multiple surgeries, coke habit, sex tapes), sued daddy dearest for mismanagement of her trust, which contained a paltry $500mm when it trickled down to her, instead of the multiple billions she was expecting (that’s not a joke unfortunately). Harrison Ford’s daughter in Air Force One settled out of court in 2005.
From hospitality to hostility – [Minneapolis StarTribune]