‘Duck Dynasty’ Producers Accuse ITV of Greedy Corporate Takeover

Duck Dynasty
Jim Smeal/BEI/REX/Shutterstock

Duck Dynasty” creators Scott and Deirdre Gurney are accusing U.K. broadcaster ITV of a “greedy corporate grab,” a week after the Gurneys were forced out of their company amid fraud allegations.

The Gurneys say they will file a countersuit against ITV, accusing the firm of fabricating baseless claims in order to lower the value of the couple’s minority stake in Gurney Productions. The Gurneys are also prepared to claim that they — and not ITV — continue to have the legal right to run the company.

ITV bought 61.5% of the reality production company in 2012 for $40 million. The Gurneys retained the balance of the shares and stayed on as co-CEOs, producing dozens of shows for Discovery, HGTV, TLC, and other cable networks.

Last week, ITV announced that the Gurneys had been suspended pending an investigation into billing fraud, and installed an interim CEO. On Friday, ITV formally fired the Gurneys and sued them, accusing them of lying to the board of directors and falsely inflating the value of their shares in the company. The lawsuit also claimed that the Gurneys had failed to pay back $542,000 in personal expenses billed to the company, including mortgage payments, country club fees, and helicopter rides.

On Monday, the Gurneys’ attorney, Michael Weinsten, fired back.

“This is a blatant, desperate attempt at intimidation by ITV, a classic greedy corporate grab, solely for the purpose of enriching one shareholder at the expense of the founders who built this company into the highly valued, sustained financial success story that it is,” Weinsten said. “The claims against the Gurneys are completely baseless and fraught with contradictions, inconsistencies and outright falsehoods. My clients are considering all of their legal options and are preparing to respond accordingly.”

In its lawsuit, ITV alleged that the Gurneys secretly set up Snake River Productions, which acquired distribution rights to a Gurney Productions show, “Northern Territory,” for $3.6 million. ITV alleged that the Gurneys were using the secret company to inflate Gurney Productions’ EBITDA, which would increase the value of the Gurneys’ remaining stake the company. Under the agreement, ITV was expected to buy out the Gurneys’ shares in 2017 at a price based on the previous years’ EBITDA.

But the agreement also provided that the Gurneys’ shares would drop in value if they were fired for cause. The Gurneys are expected to allege in a countersuit that ITV fabricated a “cause” to fire them in order to cut the value of their shares.

The Gurneys will also maintain that Snake River does not improperly compete with Gurney Productions, because it is exploring several game-show ideas but is not involved in reality TV. The Gurneys also contend that ITV interfered with production of “Duck Dynasty” — and that the Gurneys, who remain on the board, have the right to control the company.

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  1. Crews of Gurney says:

    Hands down the worst people in the business. Couldn’t happen to a lovelier pair. I can hear them screaming at each other now about whose fault it is. I wonder how many office assistants being used as nannies have been fired and hired this week. #Tipoftheiceberg #GurneyTitanic #NoLeo

    • Steve says:

      Sounds to me like you are one of the many “entitled” millennial types that may or may not have worked there, that has nothing better to do,(besides play your video games) than leave ridiculous anonymous comments. My guess is that you will always be an employee who blames the employer for your failures. Take a long look in the mirror and grow up.

  2. Ex Gurney Employee says:

    All these people that claim to know the Gurneys personally and that they are good people are full of shit. Clearly they haven’t witnessed the many fights they have with each other (while holding their kids) calling each other a$$hole and C*nt left and right. Yeah, truly nice people (sarcasm). Nobody believes the fake “gurneys are good people” comments. Their reputation FAR overshadows any of those fake comments.

    • Steve says:

      The tasteless and rude comments on here made towards the Gurneys, including the most recent one only demonstrates just how immature and unprofessional YOU all are. Maybe I know you maybe I don’t but I can’t tell you no one would want to associate with any of you on any level, I guess why your comments are made anonymously. God forbid if your experience wasn’t perfect, sounds to me like you all need to put your big boy and big girl panties on and grow up. Work is hard, that’s why it’s called work.

  3. I know the Gurney’s personally and professionally. They are hard working and demand the same in return. Work hard, play hard! There are no shortcuts to success people! If you have anything bad to say, you probably were lazy and didn’t fit their model of success. As it pertains to ITV, sounds to me like they are making these false claims out of corporate greed.

  4. flower child says:

    I worked for Gurney for a few years in accounting. They are very nice. They fight for what is right when most will walk away. They pay very well so anyone who says they didn’t clearly never worked there or was fired because they did something wrong. And the friday parties were fun ;) If you claim you were under paid why did you work there?

  5. Rick says:

    Worked with Scott and Deirdre for years, couldn’t imagine better people to work for. Can’t imagine any of this is true. Good luck!

    • Ex-Employee says:

      The Gurneys are horrible people who treat their employees like crap, pay them pennies, ignore labor laws….this is LONG overdue justice. Karma! I hope ITV destroys them in court and takes every cent from them. Awful, horrible human beings the Gurneys…..

  6. SG says:

    This is classic Gurney. The sad thing is that Scott and Deirdre actually believe that they are in the right. They are complete sociopaths.

    Typically they are the ones who fabricate causes to fire their own workers.

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