Judge Upholds $53 Million Award Against DeLorean
DETROIT (AP) _ A federal judge upheld a $53 million judgment against former automaker John DeLorean in a dispute with the British arm of DeLorean’s failed sports car company.
U.S. District Judge Richard Suhrheinrich on Thursday dismissed DeLorean’s argument that the British case was resolved by the 1987 out-of-court settlement of the U.S. bankruptcy of DeLorean Motor Co.
The company’s British arm, now called DSQ Property Co. Ltd., claimed DeLorean stole millions of dollars from the company. The company ran the government-subsidized plant in Northern Ireland that manufactured the DeLorean cars.
DeLorean did not respond to the claim and the British court levied the $53 million judgment last June.
DeLorean’s assets had been frozen pending resolution of the case. They included a Utah manufacturing company estimated to be worth more than $11 million, a New York City cooperative apartment and furnishings worth up to $9 million and a New Jersey mansion and farm worth about $4.5 million.
DeLorean and his attorney, Mayer Morganroth, said they were surprised by the judge’s ruling and planned to appeal.
″If somebody takes everything you own, of course it’s a major setback,″ DeLorean said from New York.
″We’ve been now since 1982 going from battle to battle, and this is another battle that came from overseas that we did not expect nor anticipate,″ Morganroth said.
Malcolm Schade, an attorney for the British plaintiffs, said he was confident the judge’s ruling would be upheld on appeal and that the creditors would be reimbursed for their losses.
DeLorean, who produced a gull-winged, stainless-steel shell sports car before the company went under in 1982, has endured seven years of court battles. A Los Angeles federal jury acquitted him in August 1984 on drug smuggling charges after DeLorean claimed entrapment by federal undercover agents.
He was indicted in September 1985 in Detroit on federal fraud and racketeering charges relating to money he was accused of stealing from his company. A jury found him innocent of criminal charges.
In August 1987, DeLorean reached an out-of-court settlement of U.S. bankruptcy and civil suits in which he retained major assets but agreed to pay $9.36 million to creditors.