MONTREAL — Confusion reigned at embattled Canuck TV producer Cinar Corp. late last week as the company tried to oust its controversial founders.
Cinar said that the special committee of the board of directors had terminated the employment of Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg, who have been on forced adminstrative leave since March 14. The independent directors of the Cinar board have also asked Charest and Weinberg to resign as directors of the company.
But Charest and Weinberg fired back Friday, with their lawyer saying they will fight the Cinar decision, and they don’t intend to resign from the board under these terms. Charest and Weinberg remain majority shareholders of the Montreal-based TV producer and distributor, but they have not been involved in the day-to-day operation of the company since they were forced out during a financial scandal this spring.
“We strongly disagree with the special committee’s decision,” said Weinberg. “We also intend to vigorously defend any suggestion of wrongdoing on our part. We believe that we have always tried to act in the best interest of Cinar and its shareholders.”
Toronto-based lawyer Joseph Groia, who is representing Charest and Weinberg, said his clients believe the current board has not been doing a good job of dealing with the crisis and that it is time for all the directors to step down. He noted that, at present, it is not possible for the board to force Charest and Weinberg to resign their board positions and that the two execs are considering all legal options regarding being fired.
“We firmly believe that Cinar shareholders share the view that there is an urgent need for dramatic change at the company and at the board,” said Charest. “We are working with our advisors and other Cinar shareholders to bring about that change. We will resign when the remaining board members agree to join us and clear the way for a new slate of directors.”