ASHLAND, Ky. (WYMT/WSAZ) - Braidy Industries founder Craig Bouchard filed a lawsuit against the company after the board removed him as CEO and chairman in January.
In the suit filed Friday in Delaware, Bouchard cites a voting agreement entered into by the company and shareholders.
In a release, Bouchard's legal team says, "the Voting Agreement provides Mr. Bouchard the unequivocal right to promptly remove the named defendants and fellow board members from their board seats.
The suit names Michael Porter, Christopher Schuh, John Preston, and current Chairman Charles Price.
The suit alleges the "named board members, in an unplanned action, voted on January 28, 2020, to change leadership, removing founder Bouchard as Braidy Industries' Chairman and CEO, jeopardizing approximately $260 million in potential equity investments from new investors."
Bouchard alleges, because he was removed, the prospective investors may have now decided to wait for the dispute between Bouchard and the company to be resolved before investing in Braidy. Bouchard says his removal has sidelined a planned investment of $60 million from "one of the world's largest companies."
In a statement, Bouchard says,
"I informed the Board that the company had line-of-sight and was in discussion with investors to fund the entire $1.8 billion needed to build its mill in East Park, Ashland, Kentucky, in alignment with customer purchasing schedules. It seems evident that the named defendants put three years of progress and stockholder value at risk. We must simply remove these individuals from the board, as they are no longer showing proper judgment and replace them with directors who have more experience in the areas that have now become critical to building the company. This is vital to investor confidence.
The board members' actions last week, including terminating irreplaceable members of the senior management team, created an urgent risk of irreparable damage that cannot be ignored or allowed to linger. The board members have placed the community of Ashland and North East Kentucky, suffering from job loss and the ensuing opioid crisis, at risk. I believe the job of the Chairman and CEO is to look out for shareholders and the community.
The current situation left me with no choice but to file this lawsuit in the Delaware court, seeking to enforce my unequivocal contractual rights—under the Voting Agreement that the company, Board and the stockholders agreed to—to designate and terminate directors. The lawsuit seeks expedited consideration of my request to complete the removal of these board members. I will designate and announce a talented and qualified new board shortly.
Braidy Industries was my idea three years ago. In the few years since its inception, the company acquired hundreds of acres of land, acquired three large manufacturing facilities and acquired two award-winning ultra-high-strength powder metallurgy companies, all the while remaining debt-free to this day. Braidy hired world-class aluminum executives and many great scientists and began a nationally recognized workforce development degree program, all while designing and permitting the lowest cost aluminum rolling mill in the word with the expected lowest carbon imprint in North America. The mill capacity is reserved by approximately 20 large customers for seven years.
The other board members now have a different vision. My vision remains the same."
Bouchard says he is seeking an expedited resolution from the court by March 13.
Sister station WSAZ has reached out to Braidy Industries for comment but has not heard back yet.