Delaware

TransPerfect’s PAC can shove their threats

Chris Coffey, pictured above, is the campaign manager for Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware (CPBD).  He has a warning to those who would dare oppose his efforts to destroy Delaware’s ability to resolve intra-corporate disputes:

“I’m saying to those folks who will support us that we will be here long past this legislation and to the other side lobbying against us that we are not going anywhere,” said Chris Coffey, campaign manager for Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware.

Coffey accused the Delaware State Bar Association’s Corporate Law Committee of being part of “Delaware’s old boy network.” He claims the group has threatened legislators supportive of the bill. The Corporate Law Committee has refused to endorse Bonini’s bill. Typically, the General Assembly is reluctant to change Delaware’s incorporation laws without the committee’s support.

“There are folks who are with us and we want them to feel comfortable,” Coffey said of the PAC.

What is this all about?   It’s about this company called TransPerfect.

TransPerfect is a court reporting, translation, and document management company.  The company was owned by a couple, who were once engaged, Phil Shawe and Liz Elting. But their personal split has led to infighting in the business, which has led to litigation in Delaware’s Chancery Court.   Last year, the Chancery Court ordered the sale of the company after concluding that fighting between Shawe and Elting, created “a dysfunctional atmosphere” that could harm both clients and employees.   Noted Delaware legal scholar Rudy Giuliani criticized the decision as judicial overreach.  Those who actually work in Delaware Corporate law, however, say the Chancellor accurately applied Delaware Law in this situation.  Regardless, Senator Bonini seeks to a fix a problem by making it worse it would seem. His SB53 would require the Court of Chancery to wait three years before it can order the sale of a company. It also will include other measures including the appointment of directors to break management deadlocks to avoid a sale.   I do not see how extending business infighting for three years is beneficial to the company.  For reasons passing understanding, State Representative John Kowalko is also a sponsor of the bill.

 

Look, kid, and I call you kid because you do look younger than me, you ain’t getting anywhere in this state with your New York threats.   You know who is responsible for the plight of the workers you represent?  Phil Shawe and Liz Elting.   You want to threaten anyone, threaten them.  It’s their petty infighting that has led them to this place.

I hate to say it, but Senator Greg Lavelle is right.  Ouch, that did hurt.

Sen. Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, called Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware an “astroturf” campaign serving as a front for Shawe’s business interests.  “If [Shawe] spent half the time trying resolve his true differences with [Elting], his employees would be better served,” he said.

Simpson and Lavelle also took issue with Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware’s claim that legislators on the Senate committee received nearly a dozen emails a day from Delaware residents in opposition to TransPerfect’s sale. The senators said citizens have been largely silent on the issue. Simpson said he only has received two calls over the past year while Lavelle, who is not a member of the committee, said he has fielded one.  […]

“I think it’s time to put this issue to rest,” [Senator Simpson] said. “This has dragged on for a year and a half. I don’t know much money they’ve spent trying to influence the Delaware Legislature, but I don’t think they are going to be any more successful by threatening it.”

 

 

4 comments on “TransPerfect’s PAC can shove their threats

  1. Chris Coffey

    Appreciate the point of view. Keep in mind, that any attempt to critique the corporate law has been greeted with a loud How Dare You from the insiders in Delaware, like Greg LaValle.

    Greg LaValle took his duties to confirm Judge Bouchard so seriously during his confirmation hearing to become a judge that he asked a total of 0 questions and the whole hearing took 13 minutes. But now he is outraged. And throwing around a lot of unchecked lies (phil Shawe may be a lot of things, but the idea that he is profiting on this fiasco is either so misinformed that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about, or he’s intentionally throwing around some crazy.

    There are real problems in this case. The custodian charges $1400 per hour. That’s 3x more than the average Delaware custodian. They have bilked Transperfect for $15M in one year. Nobody has to approve those costs. Custodian could be employing his brother and we would not know. Not saying he is, but of course, nobody knows what he is doing.

    There are 4,000 employees who work at this company. Many have worked there for 10-15 years. I challenge you to talk to some of those folks and see how they are doing. As you probably know in a merger, or a takeover, 1/3 to 1/4 of the workers could be laid off.

    There have been 26 attempts to settle made by employees, and then by Shawe. Yet no incentive to settle on the Elting side. Because that’s how the case has shaken out. She’s got what she wants, which is the heist of Transperfect. And mark my words, she is not looking to manage TP. She is looking to sell out, and sell the employees out. Shirley Shawe just offered to vote with Ms Elting on any board member she wants, which would forever end the “deadlock” and yet, she turned her down and then asked for sanctions against a 76 year old lady.

    This case requires more sunshine. The more people know the facts, the better we will be. And when thousands of people are laid off, I hope the old boys network trying to stifle dissent in this case doesn’t try to pass the buck.

    • But at the end of the day, yours is a special pleading to get the court system to give you the solution you want. In the meantime, Delawareans have to live with this onslaught of disinformation.

      This is a private company — with really fucked up ownership — who had to resort to the court system to try to deal with the games the owners are playing. The system worked as it should. And now you want to change the law rather than live with the ones compelling it to be sold. The problem with companies that don’t belong to you is that you are employed at their whim. Not sure why the taxpayers in Delaware should continue to have to pay for all of this dysfunction.

  2. Steve Williams

    As the previous commenter, Chris Coffey mentioned, Greg LaValle took a whopping 13 minutes to confirm Judge Bouchard as judge during the confirmation hearing. He asked no questions. Bouchard is now changing the law from the bench in a case that has been fumbled and bumbled by Bouchard from the very start.

    The judge is also corrupt by favoring his buddy Kevin Shannon, who is Liz Elting’s attorney in this case. Really this case has all the earmarks of one that could and should be overturned, so this proposed law would help future company owners from being screwed the way TransPerfect’s owners are being screwed here.

    And, who is protecting and thinking about the 4,000 employees who work at this company? Many of these loyal employees would and could lose their jobs if there is a merger or acquisition here. Again, as Coffey wrote, Elting is looking to sell out, which would, in turn, sell the employees out.

    This judge Bouchard is corrupt and someone has to stand up to him and his corruption! Peace.

  3. The employees of the company have no say in whether the company is sold, and would have no say no matter who made the decision.

    TransPerfect’s owners are not being screwed. Indeed, only one of those owners — the one who gave away 1% to his mom so he could lie and say the business was female-owned — is causing all the problems here. He’s also the one backing the employees mounting this offensive little legal challenge.

    The company incorporated in Delaware so it could take advantage of the state’s corporate legal structure. Now it doesn’t want to live with the result.

    The fuckstick part-owner is the problem. If there’s any justice in the world, his one-time partner will have him whacked.

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