The JCB heir fails to take control of the American company at the center of a legal dispute with his former best friend. Business

The heir to digging company JCB has failed in an attempt to take control of a business run by his former best friend after a US court battle that included ludicrous allegations about personal conduct — and even Michael also disclosed an apparent attempt to buy Jackson’s Neverland ranch. ,

Joe Bamford, the grandson of JCB’s founder, sued Joseph Mannheim in Delaware last year, claiming that his former friend had “secretly” taken control of a company he owned for the wealthy, mainly Sugar, was established to help investors get residency in America. Bamford, 44, a self-proclaimed “green entrepreneur”, claimed Mannheim had secretly duped the business millions of dollars and Bamford sought $13.8m (£11.3m) in damages.

Bamford is the son of billionaire colleague and JCB chairman Anthony Bamford – and a major donor to the prime minister, Boris Johnson. Lord Bamford’s Dalesford estate reportedly hosted Johnson’s wedding party on Saturday.

The Guardian reported the legal case last year that shed light on one of Britain’s wealthiest families, revealing how Bamford ordered cannabis and sent unspecified “inappropriate, explicit photos” to company emails. Accepted using the account.

The case also reveals how Joe Bamford structured his relationship with the business to reduce his tax bill in Britain. The court said: “Bamford was personally interested in putting his interest through an entity which he believed would help reduce his taxes in the United Kingdom.”

Delaware Court’s Memorandum Opinion – a 125-page ruling on June 24 this year found that Mannheim would owe the company more than $2.4m in interest for “additional management fees” and found some expenses “not wholly justified” and he violated his responsibilities as a director of the company.

See also  PerkinElmer divests three business units in $2.45 billion deal

However, the court denied Bamford’s request to hand over control of the company to him and his fellow plaintiffs, in accordance with the decision. According to the filing, Bamford failed to prove that Mannheim was guilty of fraud or negligent misrepresentation, but was criticized by the court of all main parties.

Bamford’s lawyers said they filed a motion asking the court to increase the amount to be paid to Mannheim.

WrightBus President Joe Bamford, speaking as TransLink, unveiled Northern Ireland's first sustainable fuel cell buses, which are powered by wind power, in 2020 at their Milewater Service Center in Belfast.
Joe Bamford is the grandson of the founder of JCB. Photograph: Liam McBurney / PA

The decision is likely to raise further questions about the conduct of Bamford, whose family wealth and connections have helped him become a big player in the green economy, especially around hydrogen. In 2019 he rescued Northern Ireland bus-maker WrightBus from his distribution company Ryze with plans to build hydrogen-powered buses, and he has launched a fund that aims to raise £1bn to invest in hydrogen projects.

The court found that Bamford, as well as other key witnesses, had “successfully influenced his credibility at various points”.

Bamford’s lawyers stated that all the steps he took regarding his tax liabilities were reasonable and in line with US tax law.

The test gave a rare insight into the world of the super-rich. Bamford was described as a collector of classic Ferraris and rare pheasants, and he admitted to ordering cannabis using a work email. In the case, Bamford successfully challenged some of Mannheim’s expenses, including visiting a strip club called Delilah Den, charges related to a ski holiday injury, and fees paid to a director, which the court called Mannheim’s “Stooge”. ” Worked as.

The trial also revealed a previously unreported plan by Bamford to buy the Neverland ranch once owned by Michael Jackson, who died in 2009. An alleged plan to purchase the 1092-hectare (2,700-acre) site was discussed by Bamford in 2013, court papers show.

During the cross-examination, Bamford’s lawyer asked Mannheim about “Project Peter Pan”. Mannheim responded by asking if she was referring to “buying a Michael Jackson ranch thing.” The emails referenced in the trial show that Bamford has reached the stage of assessing non-disclosure agreements related to the potential sale. It’s unclear how far Bamford went with the potential purchase, and his attorneys did not respond to questions about it.

The case focused on the Delaware Valley Regional Center (DVRC), a company founded in 2012 to provide US green cards to wealthy foreign investors.

Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, shakes hands with an excavator during his visit to the JCB factory in Vadodara this year.
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, shakes hands with an excavator during his visit to the JCB factory in Vadodara, India this year. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The program was structured as a real infrastructure investment, building roads in Pennsylvania, but investment returns were low: expert testimony cited in court suggested that the annual return after fees was negative 1.41%, meaning that Investors lost money. However, it appears that the true benefit of the controversial program was to give investors access to the coveted “green cards,” which grant residency rights in the US.

In exchange for $500,000, which was invested in local road and public transportation projects, as well as fees for DVRC, wealthy foreigners could apply for a fast-track visa to live and work in the US.

The four-day trial in June 2021 detailed how the once-close friendship deteriorated. The two men socialized and vacationed together and were godfathers to each other’s children. The court found that Bamford was “strapped for cash following a disagreement with his father” in late 2017, and therefore looked to DVRC to pay the dividend.

Tensions between Bamford and his father, Lord Bamford, began when the father refused to initiate plans for the son to head the JCB, court documents show. The maker of diggers and other construction machinery is one of Britain’s largest private companies, and Bamford has used its estimated £4.3bn fortune to wield political influence. JCB and Lord Bamford were among the biggest donors to the Boris Johnson and Brexit campaigns, and Joe Bamford has personally lobbied Johnson for a pro-hydrogen government policy.

Bamford asked the court to terminate Mannheim’s control over the company, but the court denied the request. “The plaintiffs have come nowhere close to proving the facts supporting such an extraordinary measure,” the judge wrote.

The DVRC operated under the EB-5 program, which effectively allowed wealthy foreigners to purchase the right to live and work in the US. EB-5 has now been suspended for new applicants following criticism from senators that – although legal – it presents a national security risk.

Through its attorneys, Bamford has previously defended its participation in the EB-5 scheme as a fully legitimate business.

Lawyers for Bamford declined to comment on the record.

Sign up for the daily Business Today email or on Twitter @BusinessDesk. Follow Guardian Business on

Mannheim said: “I am extremely proud of DVRC’s achievements over the past 10 years, enabling and supporting projects that have created thousands of jobs and greatly improved the rail and roads of southeastern Pennsylvania.

“I am sorry, and I am still shocked, that Mr. Bamford pursued a four-year futile trial that cost him millions and millions of dollars in legal fees in an attempt to increase his profits and seize control of the company.

“I am very grateful, and not surprised, that the court has dismissed most of Bamford’s claims and his attempt to take control of the company. We at DVRC are all excited to move forward and serve the interests of our investors and stakeholders. Huh.”

Jameson, an attorney representing Mannheim at Prickett, Jones & Elliott, said: “We are pleased that the court, after evaluating the entire record, dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims that they had been defrauded, and their requests.” of DVRC.

“While we respectfully disagree with the court’s award of certain damages, we are satisfied that the court dismissed the majority of plaintiffs’ claims for damages.”