The CEO of flavored water maker LeNature’s Inc. was removed – at least temporarily – after a judge in a business-oriented Delaware court ruled the company had engaged in “potentially criminal conduct.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that Judge Leo Strine Jr.’s decision to bring in crisis management firm Kroll Zolfo Cooper to run LeNature’s may eventually force beleaguered company founder Gregory Podlucky to sell the company.
Podlucky has been under assault by investors who believe he may have turned down offers for the company in an effort to gain control of their shares.
He was escorted from the building last Friday, according to the Tribune Review, and the locks were changed to keep him, his brother, Jonathan, and other LeNature’s Executives from operating at the company.
While Kroll representatives made it clear they believed the company would continue to operate, the Podlucky family may be out of luck.
LeNature’s had already been sued twice this year over investors who had backed their expansion plans. As disputes between the litigants grew, according to the Pittsburgh paper, it began to appear that Podlucky and other company officials had changed documents – including board meeting minutes, loan documents, possibly even payments made on behalf of the company to a foundation named for Podlucky’s late daughter – in an attempt to mislead creditors and the courts.
The company recently opened a bottling plant in Arizona as part of an aggressive expansion plan. Another plant site, in Jacksonville, fell apart after permission from the county for its water use plans fell through.