AutoCanada Inc. and the company’s founder and former CEO Patrick Priestner have settled a longtime legal battle, with neither party admitting wrongdoing or liability.
The Edmonton-based dealership group launched a C$250 million ($184 million U.S.) lawsuit against Priestner in 2019, alleging the former company executive “breached his fiduciary and other duties to AutoCanada by appropriating corporate opportunities of AutoCanada to acquire dealerships privately.”
The suit revolved around several dealerships AutoCanada was not able to purchase at the time because of certain automakers’ prohibition on publicly traded groups acquiring their stores.
Priestner — who founded AutoCanada in 2006, served as CEO until 2014 and as board chairman until 2016 — countered in a 2019 statement of defense that the dealerships he purchased through privately held CanadaOne Auto Group were acquired with the “express permission” of AutoCanada. He also claimed the lawsuit was filed in “bad faith."