Two daughters of the late Al J. Schneider have asked a Jefferson County judge to issue a restraining order preventing the sale or attempted sale of the Galt House Hotel, One Waterfront Plaza and any other assets owned by the Alton John Schneider Restated Revocable Trust.
Christe Coe and Nancy O’Hearn filed a petition in Jefferson County District Court on March 9 challenging the authority of their sisters Mary Moseley and Dawn Hitron, as well as accountant Michael Mountjoy and R. Joseph Mittel, to manage the estimated $300 million in assets held in the trust. All six individuals are co-trustees.
The petition is sealed, but its contents were alluded to in a separate petition filed March 11 by Amy Cubbage, an attorney with Ackerson & Yann PLLC, on behalf of Hitron, Moseley, Mountjoy and Mittel. Cubbage did not return a call for comment by press time.
The second petition asked Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mary Shaw to affirm that the four co-trustees have the right to manage the trust based on a majority vote, meaning Coe and O’Hearn would not be able to stop the sale of the Galt House or other assets if a majority of the trustees approved it.
WDRB was the first to report on the dispute Monday, citing the circuit court petition. However, Insider Louisville found additional documents that were filed Monday, making Coe and O’Hearn’s case.
Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, Coe and O’Hearn’s attorneys fired back, filing a request for a restraining order and an emergency motion to dismiss the case. Among other arguments, the attorneys contended the circuit court did not have jurisdiction over the matter.
Attorneys representing O’Hearn and Coe did not return calls for comment by press time.
The request for a restraining order, filed March 14, indicates that Hitron, Moseley, Mountjoy and Mittel have a “Plan of Liquidation” to sell the Galt House and other properties.
A supporting court document also notes that 360,000 outstanding voting shares in Al J. Schneider Co., the name under which the trust operates, are set to be distributed among the trust’s 21 beneficiaries on May 31.
The document states that 15 of the trust’s beneficiaries are against the liquidation plan and have directed Hitron, Moseley, Mountjoy and Mittel to abandon it. Come May 31, those 15 beneficiaries would hold 63.3 percent of the vote, according to the court document.
Coe and O’Hearn are challenging the authority of Hitron, Moseley, Mountjoy and Mittel “to prevent a breach of fiduciary duties by [their] four co-trustees — who are attempting to hastily and recklessly liquidate the entire Company and its assets, including the Galt House, despite objections from the Beneficiaries and without regard for their individual best-interest,” the court document reads.
If the judge does not sign the restraining order, the attorneys for Coe and O’Hearn have asked her to dismiss the case and remand it to district court, which they argue has jurisdiction in this instance.
In the filing to dismiss, the attorneys wrote that District Court Judge David Holton “made it clear” that he planned to issue a restraining order on Friday to prevent the sale of the trust’s assets, but to avoid the order, the attorney for Hitron, Moseley, Mountjoy and Mittel filed Friday’s petition in circuit court.
Coe and O’Hearn’s attorneys also argued that on Oct. 8, 2015, the four plaintiffs tried to extend their control over the trust until the end of 2016, rather than distributing the outstanding shares on May 31 according to directives laying out how the trust would work.
In February of this year, a district court judge agreed to extend the termination of the trust on a limited basis as long as the two sides agreed to conditions, including not selling or transferring ownership of the Al J. Schneider Co. or the Galt House during a legal dispute. An agreement is still under negotiation, but the attorneys for Coe and O’Hearn stated in the court document that the opposing side did not live up to their word.
Coe and O’Hearn “were forced to learn through the media that the Plaintiffs were forging ahead with their efforts to hastily liquidate the Company and the Galt House,” the document states, citing a story IL broke regarding the listing of One Waterfront Plaza.
The document also cites a story about the possible sale of the Galt House to Crestview Hills, Ky.-based hotel management company Columbia Sussex Corp., which IL also broke.