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ELLSWORTH Myers Equipment at center of suit



Published: Wed, April 24, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The shareholder says she was frozen out of a family business and denied adequate dividends.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

ELLSWORTH -- An Illinois woman who owns stock in Myers Equipment Corp. is suing family members who operate the company, saying she was denied the proper value of her stock.

Margaret Myers Tallon of Naperville, Ill., filed the suit last week in federal court in Youngstown. It seeks unspecified damages of more than $75,000.

Myers Equipment on U.S. Route 224 sells new school bus bodies, commercial shuttle buses, used buses, ambulances, emergency vehicles and truck equipment.

The lawsuit says Tallon's grandfather, Harold Myers, was one of the original shareholders and officers of the company. The defendants include David and Richard Myers, who are sons of the founder, Paul Myers, and other family members who are running the business today.

David Myers said he couldn't comment because he hadn't seen the suit.

The suit says Tallon was led to believe by family members that her 29 shares of company stock, which she inherited from her mother and sister, were nonvoting stock. The shares, however, are the same as other family members' shares and entitle her to vote in corporate matters, the suit says.

What's contended

It says Tallon was "frozen out of corporate governance" and that David and Richard Myers have refused to buy her stock.

The suit says Tallon, who sold 14 shares in 1986, was told repeatedly from 1986 to 2001 that the company didn't have the money to buy the rest of her shares. But in 1995, the company redeemed the 106 shares of stock owned by Richard Myers, who retired.

In 2001, Tallon was offered the same price that Richard Myers received in 1995, but the value of those shares had increased, it says. The suit says David Myers now owns 126 of the 185 outstanding shares.

It says Tallon received a dividend of $1 a share each year. David and Richard Myers could have used company funds to pay a "reasonable dividend" but instead paid "families and themselves excessive bonuses," it says.

They also have used company funds to finance related entities in which only some of the Myers shareholders were owners, it says.

shilling@vindy.com




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