Ambulance Firm Exec Sued

Siblings of Curtis Universal chief accuse him violating fiduciary duty


 
 

Guy Boulton | | Wednesday, November 26, 2008


MILWAUKEE -- The chief executive of Curtis Universal Inc., a private ambulance company that operates in Milwaukee and several other communities, is being sued by his two brothers, who accuse him of taking control of the company through self-dealing.

In a lawsuit filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Michael Baker and Jon Baker contend that James Baker Jr. gained control of the company by violating his fiduciary duty as trustee for the trust that held Michael Baker's shares in Curtis Universal.

The two brothers, who live in Arizona, also claim that James Baker Jr. ignored their requests to look at the company's financial statements and other records.

James Baker Jr., who lives in Hartland, said he had not seen the lawsuit Monday and could not comment.

Curtis Universal, which employs more than 100 people, contracts to provide ambulance services. The company, which operates in Milwaukee, Dane and other counties, also provides private medical transportation services.

Before December 2006, the company was owned by James Baker Sr. and his three sons, according to the complaint filed Friday. James Baker Sr. owned 17%, James Baker Jr. and Jon Baker each owned 33% and Michael Baker owned 17% of the company.

Michael Baker's shares were held in the trust overseen by James Baker Jr.

The lawsuit alleges that on Dec. 27, 2006, James Baker Jr. as trustee agreed to sell the trust's shares to Curtis Universal for $33,000, the complaint says. The trust was paid $1,500 in cash and given a promissory note for $31,500.

Around the same time, James Baker Jr. agreed to buy 375 shares of Curtis Universal's shares for $33,000, increasing his stake in the company to 50%, the complaint says.

Michael Baker and Jon Baker contend they were never told of the transactions.

The lawsuit asks the court to appoint a receiver to run the company while it is dissolved.




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