Billionaire Wants to See the Books

MONTREAL (CN) – A reclusive Canadian billionaire claims he is being shut out of the affairs of Miromar Development, a Florida-based company he owns in 50 percent partnership with his ex-wife. Robert G. Miller, suing as Robmilco Holdings Ltd., seeks appointment of a receiver and an accounting.

     Miromar is operated by Miller’s ex-wife, Margaret J. Miller. Robmilco sued her, Miromar CFO Robert Roop, Miromar itself, and 25 of its subsidiaries.
     Miromar develops, owns and operates commercial and residential properties in the United States and Canada. The bulk of its entities, including Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, Miromar Design Center, outlet shopping malls, high-end residential developments, and an irrigation water supplier, are in Lee County, Florida.
     Robert Miller is also president and CEO of Future Electronics, the world’s third-largest electronics component supplier, headquartered in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.
     He formed Miromar Development with his then-wife in 1988 and claims that about $82.5 million in loans from Future Electronics financed Miromar’s many projects. “None of the loans from Future Electronics have been paid back,” his complaint states, though the company had revenue of “approximately $305 million and net income of approximately $42 million from 2002 to 2007 alone.”
     Robert Miller claims that the reported revenue and net income are lower than they should be, because of the defendants’ inaccuracy and minimal record-keeping. He sued Miromar in Florida in 2008 seeking access to books and records.
     Roop, former CFO of Future Electronics, resigned and moved to Lee County to work for Ms. Miller at Miromar after the two became “romantically involved,” and before the Millers divorced in 2006, according to the complaint.
     Robert Miller’s complaint accuses the two of siphoning $3.3 million in loans and advances to Miromar’s subsidiaries, and making dubious payments of $6 million in marketing fees to MJM Publicity Ltd., a company owned by Ms. Miller.
     Robert Miller also claims that Ms. Miller and Roop made false filings with the Florida Secretary of State, claiming that Miromar’s principal place of business was in Canada. He claims that in 2008 the Florida court found that “as a matter of law,” Miromar is subject to jurisdiction in Florida and noted Miromar’s “long history of contact with the State of Florida.”
     Robert Miller claims that Florida courts are the proper forum for the present lawsuit. He says he has filed claims in the Circuit Court for the 20th Judicial Circuit in and for Lee County, Florida, but due to the defendants’ “ill-founded contestation” of Miromar’s jurisdiction in 2008, “it is purely out of abundance of caution and in order to safeguard their rights” that the present lawsuit is filed in Montreal on a de bene esse basis.
     Robert Miller is represented by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.

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