Irwin Jacobs leads lawsuit against Genmar trustee

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Irwin Jacobs and others have filed suit against Charles Ries, the Chapter 7 trustee of the bankruptcy estates of Genmar Holdings and certain former subsidiaries of the company, saying he has published false statements concerning past business dealings that have caused Jacobs to suffer “harm to his business and personal reputation” and have injured “current and prospective business relationships in the boating industry.”

Jacobs is seeking damages as a result of the defendant’s actions, all attorney fees and expenses, court costs and other relief as deemed proper by the court. He is also asking for a trial by jury and does not consent to a bankruptcy court conducting the jury trial.

In addition to Jacobs, other plaintiffs include his wife, Alexandra Jacobs, Jacobs Management Corp. and Operation Bass Inc., which does business as FLW Outdoors.

In his suit, filed last week in district court in Morrison County, Minn., Jacobs said the trustee has filed “multiple lawsuits containing false, outrageous and defamatory statements that have significantly injured and tortuously interfered with plaintiffs’ business opportunities and prospective business relationships.”

Specifically, the suit said Ries:

• Falsely accused plaintiffs of receiving millions of dollars in allegedly fraudulent and preferential payments from the Genmar debtors that were never made or received by the plaintiffs.

• Knowingly published false statements concerning the plaintiffs’ prior business dealings with Genmar.

• Wrongfully sued the plaintiffs and their business associates for ordinary business transfers.

    The suit goes on to say that one year after his appointment, the trustee initiated hundreds of “scattershot” lawsuits” against the plaintiffs and many of the plaintiffs’ former and current business associates. The trustee asserted that Genmar began its descent into insolvency in the early 2000s and that Genmar had nearly perpetual annual operating losses, beginning in 2003.

    Jacobs denies that allegation, noting in court documents that when a chief restructuring officer came in during bankruptcy proceedings in 2009 he noted that Genmar ran a tight operation and had strong financial controls in place.

    Genmar filed for Chapter 11 in June 2009, although the reorganization later turned into a liquidation. Jacobs noted that three months prior to filing for bankruptcy, he and a business associate invested $35 million of their own money in the company.

    The suit says, “Since the adversary proceeding against Mr. Jacobs was commenced, his current and potential business partners, dealers and distributors have expressed significant concern about the financial health of Mr. Jacobs’ business and the soundness of exploring new business opportunities or continuing with existing business relationships with Mr. Jacobs.”

    Ries was in a meeting this morning and could not immediately be reached for comment.


    26 comments on “Irwin Jacobs leads lawsuit against Genmar trustee

    1. Alphonso

      What a load.
      Irwin, you’re a leopard…..try as you might, you can’t scrub the spots off. After you injure thousands of honest and hard-working people, let’s just say you’re not “arguing from a position of strength.”

    2. MN Boater

      Well said Alphonso. I was one of those honest & hard-working employees of 15 years and know many of them who almost 3 years later are still unemployed thanks to Irwin & his so called “management team.” They are all worthless!

    3. From the other side of the fence!

      There’s a reason he is known as a “snake”

      Conveniently only months after stepping down Genmar files bankruptcy but yet good ole’ Irwin benefitted so well that he could buy it right back as an outsider. Hmmm….Think that was a total setup?

      Everyone that ever extends credit or partnes with the “Snake” should beware.

    4. Breezeswept

      When Irwin cheats his suppliers out of due payments
      and walks away from a bankrupcy with part of the assets,
      I feel Irwin is a worm.

    5. Gary213

      Poor Irwin, how much longer till Wal-Mart finally figures him out with his co-op ad dollar spend on his silly fishing company?

    6. david

      I do not know Mr. Jacobs personally. But I do know that a lot of people were badly injured financially and otherwise as a result of the bankruptcy and subsequent shenanigans.

      Having had some involvement with the melting of Genmar (while attempting to purchase the assets at a fair price to no avail) I saw nothing that would support Mr. Jacobs claims in any way shape or form but leave that for a jury to decide. The melting at lower than scrap value stunk to high heaven and equity was not served. Fairness was not present in my opinion.

      I would hope that Mr. Jacobs would tire of the Marine business and move along, agreeing whole heartedly with the writer below that his reputation was damaged long before the trustee arrived on scene to work through what appeared to be a gig to put the characters in the movie Hustler to shame.

      Would you buy a used car from this man?

    7. mark passeri

      Well, for what it’s worth, Jacobs paid us all of the warranty money owed to us for Triumph. I never thought I’d see that money, but one day the check arrived, well after Genmar was gone, paid in full. As far as I know, since Genmar was gone at that point, he didn’t have to pay me a dime! I hear all the sour grapes, but I can only go by my experience. I got screwed more by a local dealer who went out of business owing me for parts he “bought” on open account.
      Mark Passeri
      A & S Boats
      South Windsor, CT. 06074

    8. Half Full

      Does anyone on this message board read the papers or know anything about the Genmar bankruptcy? Whether you like Mr. Jacobs or not – he is a business owner and most businesses got hurt over the last several years, and incase I need to mention it to this group; a lot of people lost their jobs in every industry due to the economy and the boat business was far from the exception. Jacobs fought to hang onto his boat business and he put millions of dollars of his own money into it, but the banks pulled the plug on him forcing him into bankruptcy, just as they did to many other businesses. Genmar’s assets were up for grabs, why fault Jacobs for pouring more money into a business that others were running from and at the same time, he is creating new jobs?

    9. full trim

      You can say what you want about Genmar but Irwin provided a lot of people well paying jobs over the years and gave the marine industry supply base a lot, a lot of business.

      I dont see why all the suppliers shouldnt share in the down turn or bankruptcy when they shared in all the profitable years. I think there is a lot of bs whining going on about Irwin. Irwin has lost a lot of money just like everyone else and if he had his way he would be employing a lot of people these days. Get over it.

    10. Orlando Trucker

      Irwin Jacobs is not to be trusted. After 35 years of Trasnsporting for all major players Carver was the only company we ended up in court with due to a cargo claim. That was a deal we lost before we walked into a Milwaukee Court, and faced his “”team” part of which I’m sure was the judge acting as mediator. Our contracts had to be re written after that deal. Then last Winter they call (Carver) and want a quote for transporting some 64′ boat to the Miami Show that you can’t get legal to move and wants us to insure it. Yea Right Irwin, we’ll give you a second kick, let alone did you want credit??.
      Not even if it was the last Boat on Earth and the 2nd flood was coming!!

    11. red monkey

      Thanks Irwin! Because of your shenanigans I am still without work, my kids are hungry, and we live in the neighbors garage. Good job!!

    12. RAllen

      Maybe the oddly wild numbers given by Genmar (13 million in liabilities )pertaining to Triumph at time of bankruptcy should be looked into.Oh giving those numbers,Irwin got it one else wanted it.

    13. RedHornet

      Mr Passeri, this is exactly the behavior the trustee is trying to figure out. Why would you get paid when the creditors were required to be paid through the courts first. How would those largest dealers not have a book debt from unpaid warranty, when the smaller ones had thousands filed as due in the proceedings. A debt pre-bankruptcy filing is the obligation of he trustee, not Genmar or others to secure who they desired to retain relationships with after bankruptcy. This is what the Trustee is filing against. Preferential payments which seemingly happened as some have paid back funds to the trustee. Others were paid as you may have been, illegally as a guise to retain relationships.

    14. A observer

      The damage I fear is the damage to the name of Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm and San Diego who is a fantastic teacher, researcher, businessman, and philanthropist. I was once a student of his in the mid 1960’s and could see then what an asset to society he is. It is really a shame that this man is being implicitly damaged by sharing the same name as the Irwin Jacobs that ran Genmar.

    15. Osgood

      This economy has hurt many people just like it did Genmar and it’s employees. MANY people have lost their jobs. You guys that are crying because you lost yours…..didn’t mind cashing those checks did ya… many of you offered to take a pay cut to help keep the business afloat? It’s not ALL his fault…..Mr. Obama helped quite a bit! If you really want to do something positive, get out and vote!

    16. Rebuff to Osgood

      Financial experts do not blame Obama for the economy, and neither should you. It’s a well-documented fact that the marine industry started its cyclical downtown in 2007 — one full year before Obama was elected. The largest sporting goods retailers in the U.S. noted the decline — probably before most of us–and reacted accordingly by slowing their expansion.

    17. saratoga333

      The bottom line here is that Irwin has stomped on whoever was in his way to make “HIS” money. No problem making money the ethical way that is what our country is about. When you get greedy and compromise integrity to get to the top is it really worth it? I have a hard time believing that Irwin can sleep wth a clean conscious at night. If he can then that is the real story here because he has no reality.

    18. Just an upset consumer

      Irwin Jacobs should be banned from the marine industry. He is a greedy, arrogant, selfish, piece of crap. He ran Genmar into the ground and burried it. I purchased a new $65,000 Hydrasport in 2008 and my 10/3 year warranty was worthless a year later when they filed for bankruptcy. Thankfully my reputable S. Jersey dealer has stepped up and taken of things out of his own pocket. It’s no surprise consumer’s are reluctant to make these luxury purchases.

    19. JayZ

      He ran Genmar into the ground and stuck all the other manufacturers & consumers with the bill. Boats use the same steering, same axles, same glass, same aluminum, same flake, same gel coat, etc…. These companies passed these losses onto the manufacturers that are still employing and still building. Like anything else, the end-user pays the ultimate price. This guy should be in jail. Anybody that sticks up for this guy is clueless or ill informed.

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