Sorbara family dispute escalating

A recent story online reveals details about the current dispute between members of the Sorbara family. The dispute is between the four children of Sam Sorbara who died in 2002. Sam was the founder of the family-run Sorbara Group, a large real estate company that according to some estimates currently has assets of $1.4 billion. The four siblings involved in the dispute are Joseph Sorbara, Greg Sorbara (former Ontario finance minister), Edward Sorbara, and Marcela Tanzola. Additionally, each sibling owns 25% in the Vaughan based Sorbara Group.

Although the dispute had been brewing a long time, the first time it entered Court was in October of 2016. Joseph (the oldest sibling), commenced an application against his siblings. In that application he was seeking among other things, a declaration from the Court that his siblings engaged in conduct that was oppressive and prejudicial to the company. Joseph co-ran the company for three decades and claimed that he has lost all confidence in his siblings and their ability to look after the best interests of the company.

The main issue in the dispute is that apparently Joseph attempted to have his oldest son, Paul, ultimately take over his role as co-chief executive officer of the company. It is alleged that Greg with Edward’s support fired Paul without cause after Paul allegedly discovered that the company’s financial materials appeared to conceal poor performance and under-performance.

Greg Sorbara has released a written statement in which he denies the company is under-performing and that it is stronger than ever. He also claims that Joseph’s allegations of oppression came about two months after Paul was terminated.

None of the allegations have been proven in Court.

Sorbara family dispute may take several years to resolve

The parties involved in this dispute are very wealthy. There appears to be some hostility between some of the siblings. This has the potential to turn into a very volatile situation with litigation that may last several years. More worrying is that according to the story, the parties already attempted to mediate this dispute and failed. Before the Court application was commenced, a formal mediation process started in March of 2016 but the parties could not settle. As a result, Joseph commenced the application.

Apparently, Joseph wants his siblings to buy him out. Additionally, Joseph estimates the company’s assets are valued at $1.4 billion. Finally, Joseph, wants the Court to appoint an inspector to determine a fair value for his share.

If the above fails, then Joseph wants the Court to order the Sorbara Group dissolved. The Court has the jurisdiction and authority to dissolve a corporation.

It is unclear how long this dispute will take to resolve and what the fallout will be. In conclusion, hopefully, the parties will come to their senses and resolve the dispute. If not, they run the risk of tarnishing the legacy of their father and his lifelong accomplishments.

This will be an interesting story to follow.

More on this story here.