A Hollywood producer Wednesday sued his two brothers and other members of the board of directors of a South Gate oil company and its subsidiary, alleging they used millions of company dollars for personal use.
Richard Roth - producer of such films as "Julia," "Havana" and "The Way We Were" - brought the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of both himself as well as World Oil Corp. and DeMenno-Kerdoon, World Oil's waste recycling firm. He is a minority shareholder and member of the board of directors of both entities.
Roth names as defendants his two siblings, Robert and Steven Roth, as well as other present and former directors of World Oil and DeMenno-Kerdoon. His allegations include conspiracy, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
He is seeking unspecified damages as well as the removal of his brothers from the boards of both firms. A representative of the two siblings did not immediately return a call for comment.
According to the suit, Roth's brothers and the other defendants "perpetrated a scheme in which they secretly siphoned tens of millions of dollars from the companies to pay themselves excessive compensation and make personal loans to support their lavish lifestyles."
The defendants created a third company, Asbury Environmental Services, "as a slush fund to finance chauffeurs, chefs, art purchases and other personal expenditures" with money from World Oil and DeMenno-Kerdoon, the suit states.
"Without justification, Robert and Steven's annual compensation more than tripled from 2007 to 2011, when they each received nearly $3.7 million in salaries and bonuses," according to the suit.
The loans and other payments were funneled through Asbury by Roth's siblings and the other defendants to keep them secret from the plaintiff, the suit states.