Fresh evidence has emerged that life after direct marketing can be a car crash with reports that the wheels have came off former Acxiom global boss Charles Morgan’s attempt to launch an upmarket car dealership in California.
Morgan, who took Acxiom from start-up to international corporation during his tenure as CEO from 1972 to 2008, took a 25% stake in the car dealership, which was set up to provide the sale, maintenance and repairs of high-end motor in Orange County, California.
His son Rob also took a 25% stake, with the third partner Thomas Haacker, the founder and chairman of Priority Posting & Publishing Inc, holding the remaining 50%.
According to a lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, in November 2013, the partners started negotiations to buy the Lotus of Orange County franchise dealership owned by Orange County British Motor Cars. But in June 2014, Lotus denied their application because it was too close to another Lotus dealership.
Meanwhile, the three had formed Truspeed Partners Inc. The partnership had rented space for the dealership and called for the members to put money into the company. Haacker was supposed to put in $1m. In July 2014, he contributed $500,000, the lawsuit said.
Even though the Lotus deal had stalled, the partners were expected to move forward, according to the lawsuit, but weeks later Haacker told the Morgans he was leaving the partnership.
The Morgans allege Haacker has been reimbursed $350,000, but Rob Morgan has continued to pay bills tied to the partnership, such as monthly rent.
Now the Morgans want Haacker to cough up half the debts of the partnership “due to his wrongful dissociation,” the lawsuit said. The Morgans are also suing him for financially benefitting from the deal and are seeking an unspecified amount of money for unjust enrichment.
So far, Haacker has refused to comment on the case, but it makes you wonder whether Morgan Snr now longs for those simpler times presiding over the Arkansas data giant.
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