MONTREAL — A former senior Cinar Corp. exec is suing the company, the latest in a long list of legal troubles for the Canuck TV outfit. Louis Fournier, who left his position as vice president of distribution at Cinar in February, has filed a lawsuit over stock options that he has been unable to exercise.
Fournier, now president of youth and animation at rival Montreal production company TVA Intl., attempted to exercise the options in February when he exited Cinar. In a prepared statement, Cinar execs said, “the company intends to defend itself vigorously with respect to such claim.”
Cinar, which is already facing several class-action lawsuits filed on both sides of the border earlier this year, is also being sued by four former owners of HighReach Learning, a publisher of kids educational materials acquired by Cinar in 1998 (Daily Variety, May 26). Michael Mayberry, Sharon Mayberry, Phillip Kelley and Kathy Kelley are suing Cinar and majority shareholders Ronald Weinberg and Micheline Charest in an attempt to recover losses related to the stock-purchase agreement inked when Cinar took over HighReach two years ago.
Meanwhile, Cinar announced that chief financial officer Jeff Gerstein is instead to assume full-time tax responsibilities for Cinar as veepee of taxation.
Cinar is in negotiations with Canada Customs and Revenue regarding alleged fraud of the film and TV tax-credit system.
Cinar has been accused of putting phony Canadian names on scripts actually written by Americans in order to fulfill Canadian-content quotas and obtain tax credits for its productions.
In addition, Cinar continues to negotiate with Globe-X Management in the Bahamas to try to recover the outstanding $76 million of an unauthorized $122 million investment made with the Nassau firm. On May 31, $10 million of the investment matured, but Cinar has yet to recover the sum because Globe-X told Cinar it needs five business days to process the transaction.