Suit Claims Tile Business Being Used As Piggy Bank | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Suit Claims Tile Business Being Used As Piggy Bank

NORFOLK (CN) - A Hampton, Va. man claims in court that his estranged wife and others stole more than $3.6 million from the company he founded, and spent it on rental properties and other purposes.

In a complaint filed in the Hampton City Circuit Court, plaintiff Coney Alton Tuberville Jr., 78, says he established The Tile Shop, a ceramic tile sales and installation business, in 1967, and ran it largely by himself until he began to experience serious health issues in 2013.

In light of those issues, which he doesn't elaborate on, Tuberville says he transferred majority ownership of the company to his wife, Reba, who subsequently abandoned their marriage and has since "engaged in malicious and oppressive conduct towards the plaintiff" while acting with others to loot the company.

He goes on to claim that his fears were confirmed by a forensic accountant, whose review of the company's books revealed purchases and improvements of real property using The Tile Shop's assets.

"All of the above referenced transactions were done without appropriate corporate authorization, and constitute violations of the Bylaws of the corporation, violations of the relevant sections of the Virginia Code, case law and/or common law," the complaint says.

" There may be other real property purchased using the same process, but which are yet unknown and unidentified as of the date of this filing, and may be identified through discovery," It continues. "Additionally, assets of the Corporation were used either to repair or improve this real property, all for the purpose of increasing the value of the real property that was purchased without corporate authorization."

Tuberville claims that in order to further their scheme, Reba Tuberville and her alleged co-conspirators tried to boot him off the company's board of directors, and filed false tax returns for that claimed he no longer had any ownership interest in the company.

In reality, Tuberville said, he continues to hold a minority interest in the firm.

More recently, Tuberville says, he discovered that his estranged wife took out a life insurance policy on him through the company, and converted its value to funds she used to buy a home in a luxury retirement community known as The Chesapeake.

The insurance policy was signed without the consent of Tuberville and executed without appropriate corporate authority, in an attempt to commit fraud, according to the complaint.

Then, on Feb. 11, 2016, Tuberville says, he was sent notice of a special meeting of The Tile Shop shareholders that was being held for the purpose of removing him from the board, and installing those who he says are ripping the company off in his place.

Tuberville responded by getting a injunction against the shareholders and the meeting never took place, said John Probst, an attorney for the business's founder.

Tuberville seeks $10 million in damages on claims of embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of loyalty, fraud, unjust enrichment, self-dealing, and conversion, among others.Representatives of the defendants did not respond to telephone calls from Courthouse News seeking comment.

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