The founder of a Nova Scotia wind company claims he was “unlawfully” forced out of the firm and is suing for potentially millions of dollars.
Businessman David Lawson states he founded Barrington Wind Energy Ltd. in October 2003 and was wrongfully terminated from the company two years later by president Eric Twohig and its directors, state legal documents filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
Mr. Lawson claims he was terminated Nov. 9, 2005 during a conference call among Mr. Twohig, who was travelling in the United States, and four other company directors, including Secunda Marine president Fred Smithers, Halifax businessman Ian Tillard, Toronto businessman Tony Lundy and Peter Hall of Montreal.
Mr. Lawson claims the vote to fire him violated Barrington Wind Energy’s policies and consequently his termination as a company officer and paid consultant is “invalid and unlawful.”
A statement of claim contains allegations not proven in court.
Mr. Lawson alleges that prior to his termination he and Mr. Twohig had “successfully” completed negotiations on October 2005 with Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. and four municipal power utilities for wind-generated electricity worth about $31.2 million. It was not until April and May of 2006 that Barrington announced it had signed the energy contracts.
Mr. Lawson now wants his share, which he claims is a third of the value of the contracts.
Mr. Twohig joined Barrington as its president and director shortly after it was formed, at the invitation of Mr. Lawson, who was secretary treasurer, states the 12-page statement of claim filed Wednesday.
At first, Mr. Lawson and Mr. Twohig were equal – and the only – shareholders, each with five million shares. As directors, each would receive a cash payment of $5,000 per month to be paid to their respective holding companies – Energy Capital Corp. Ltd. and EMT Management Services Inc., according to court documents.
Shortly after incorporation, Barrington sought to raise $800,000 through a share issue at 33 cents each with a cap of 2.4 million shares.
The two partners agreed to remove the cap on shares to accommodate investor interest from Mr. Smithers, Mr. Lundy, Mr. Hall and associates.
Mr. Lawson claims that this year the company and its directors also improperly diluted the shares of Barrington, reducing his 33 per cent ownership to less than nine per cent.
Mr. Lawson is also seeking damages for the termination of his consulting contract of $5,000 per month since Nov. 9, 2005, as well as legal costs.
Barrington and others have not yet filed defences.
By Judy Myrden, Business Reporter
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