A national auto dealership company that sued Tulsa’s prominent Glover family for $46 million, accusing them of corporate sabotage, agreed to settle with the family and issue a formal apology for filing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit by Dallas-based Roundtree Automotive Group and Tulsa C Property LLC was first filed in April 2018 in Tulsa County against James Glover, his daughter Kristen Glover and son Jared Glover, Claremore Automall LLC, Glover Chevrolet West, Jim Glover Chevrolet dealership general manager Steve Harrison and Jim Glover’s long-time advertising agent Holly Allen. It was formally settled on Jan. 14.
The suit accused the Glovers, Harrison and Allen of fraud, civil conspiracy, interference with contract and business relations, misappropriation of trade secrets, deceptive trade practices and numerous breaches of contract stemming from Roundtree’s purchase of the old Jim Glover Chevrolet dealership at 8130 E. Skelly Dr., in July 2017, and sought $46 million.
Prior to Roundtree’s purchase of the old dealership location, Jim Glover had opened a new site, Jim Glover Chevrolet on the River, 707 W. 51st St.
The lawsuit by Roundtree stated that once the sale was finalized, the Glovers and former Glover employees who stayed at the dealership after the sale worked to sabotage the dealership Roundtree had purchased and accused Glover of poaching employees from the dealership, among other things.
Shortly after the suit was filed, the Glovers called the allegations in the lawsuit “a pack of lies and misrepresentations,” and called the lawsuit “an attempt to blame others for their mismanagement.” Kristen and Jared Glover counter-sued both Roundtree, two of its subsidiary companies that had purchased dealerships in Tulsa, and then-CEO Matthew Stinson for defamation, abuse of process, breach of agreement, and deceptive and unfair practices.
Though a settlement between the Glovers and Roundtree was reached in August 2020, one of the Roundtree companies used to purchase one of the Tulsa dealerships, Tulsa N Property LLC, filed bankruptcy in mid-2020. That delayed final settlement of the suit until mid-January this year.
The result of the settlement — Roundtree’s current CEO Frank Stinson, the founder of Roundtree and former CEO Matthew Stinson’s father, issued a formal apology to the Glovers, and Roundtree paid an undisclosed amount to the family.
“In my 30 years of (experience) I’ve never seen a plaintiff dismiss a lawsuit with a payment and written apology to the defendant,” said Randall Calvert, who was the lead attorney for James Glover and his dealership.
In a statement, the Glover family said it was happy the lawsuit is over.
“The August 20, 2020 Roundtree statement speaks for itself,” the statement from the Glovers read. “We never lost faith that we would be vindicated. The Glover family is grateful for their many loyal friends and customers who stuck with us during this ordeal. We’re happy this sad affair is behind us.”
An attorney for Roundtree did not return a phone message on Tuesday from The Frontier.
According to an Aug. 20, 2020 letter by Frank Stinson, the suit was filed against the Glover family and its business while he was on an extended medical leave from the company, and as part of the settlement Roundtree agreed to pay the Glovers and undisclosed sum of money and issue a formal apology for the lawsuit.
“Upon re-assuming control of the company, Mr. Stinson reviewed the facts surrounding the purchase of the dealerships, including the allegations in the original April 2018 lawsuit petition,” the letter states. “Mr. Stinson subsequently directed Roundtree’s attorney to seek a resolution of the lawsuit. The parties have agreed to dismiss the claims against each other on mutually acceptable terms including compensation to the Glover family. On behalf of Roundtree, Mr. Stinson offered his sincere apology to the Glover family and Mr. Harrison.”
Roundtree Automotive Group, a family-owned holding company that owned a chain of numerous auto dealerships around the country and is headquartered in Dallas, was founded in 1985 by Frank Stinson and at its peak was ranked as one of the top 100 dealer groups in the country, according to court filings.
Court records state that Frank Stinson left the company in 2012 due to health reasons, at which time his son Matthew Stinson, who had worked for the company as Chief Operating Officer, was appointed as CEO. About six months after the $46 million lawsuit against the Glovers was filed in 2018, Frank Stinson returned to the company, court records state.
However, upon his return, Frank Stinson found the company in financial dire straights, according to court records.
“Frank Stinson returned to Roundtree in October 2018, only to discover that the once strong dealer group he spent a lifetime building was on the precipice of financial ruin,” a lawsuit by Roundtree’s suit against Matthew Stinson states. “An investigation and review of Roundtree’s files and financial documents revealed that Matthew Stinson had used Roundtree’s assets for his personal gain.”
Calvert said Roundtree, which had used funding from Lantern Capital Partners to help finance the purchase of several dealerships across the country in 2016 and 2017, closed its Nissan dealership in Tulsa and sold its Chevrolet several of its dealership. The company also sold three of its Dallas dealerships after filing the Glover lawsuit.
On June 25, 2019, Roundtree filed a lawsuit in Texas state court against Matthew Stinson, alleging that the former CEO “borrowed” millions of dollars from Roundtree to purchase houses, luxury vacations, high-end jewelry, guns, boats custom golf carts and event tickets.
In court filings, Matthew Stinson has denied Roundtree’s claims against him, and counter-sued the company claiming he was owed money, breach of contract, and alleging the company made fraudulent claims against real estate he had purchased.
In his counter suit, Matthew Stinson stated that his father knew of the transactions, and that his father was still heavily involved with the company between 2012 and 2018.
“It was only following the collapse of the business in 2019 that Frank Stinson fabricated a narrative to pin the blame on Matthew Stinson, as a salve to Frank Stinson’s ego,” Matthew Stinson’s countersuit states.
Matthew Stinson’s attorney did not return a phone message from The Frontier Wednesday morning.
That lawsuit is scheduled for a non-jury trial in Texas on July 19.