The embattled co-chief executives of Archie Comic Publications, the company in Mamaroneck, N.Y., that publishes Archie and other comics titles, settled their long-simmering dispute for control of the family-run company on Wednesday, though some shareholders indicated that they will seek a change in leadership.
The terms of the settlement were not made public, nor were they disclosed to the three nieces of one of the co-chief executives, Jon Goldwater, who indicated through their lawyer and in court filings on Wednesday that they are mulling litigation against their uncle for mismanagement of their 25 percent stake in the company. Through their lawyer, Charles W. Grimes, who is also trustee of the Goldwater Trust, the nieces, Lisa, Taylor and Summer Goldwater, accused their “Uncle Jon” of misleading them, mishandling their investment and engaging in “ill-advised litigation” against his co-chief executive, Nancy Silberkleit.
Mr. Grimes also noted that the Goldwater Trust wanted both chief executives replaced, and in court papers filed on Wednesday, the trust accused both of them of “stealing from the company.”
Through a company spokesman, Mr. Goldwater declared himself “excited to move forward” following the settlement, but declined to comment on the potential lawsuit he and Ms. Silberkleit may face from his nieces, or on any of their allegations.
Mr. Goldwater, the son of a company co-founder, and Ms. Silberkleit, the daughter-in-law of another co-founder, Louis Silberkleit, agreed to drop all claims against each other and resume a working relationship that began in 2009 but came apart in 2011 after Mr. Goldwater sued to ban Ms. Silberkleit from the executive offices, because of what he said was disruptive, destructive behavior that included sexual harassment of employees. Ms. Silberkleit, prohibited since January from having any contact with Archie employees or conducting Archie business, responded with a countersuit seeking $100 million in damages for defamation.
Ms. Silberkleit is trustee of the Silberkleit Trust, which holds a 50 percent share in the business. Mr. Goldwater bought his 25 percent share from the estate of his late half-brother, Richard. And the remaining 25 percent is held in the Goldwater Trust for Richard Goldwater’s three daughters.
The two chief executives had agreed to try to settle their differences through court-recommended mediation at the behest of Justice Shirley Kornreich of State Supreme Court in Manhattan after she warned both that their sparring was damaging the reputation of their company.
Ms. Silberkleit’s lawyer, Howard D. Simmons, said his client was pleased that “her reputation has been restored and that she can now continue to work for Archie Comics in her role as co-chief executive.” He also declined to comment on the threatened litigation from Mr. Goldwater’s nieces or on their allegations.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 9, 2012
An article in some editions on Thursday about a settlement between the co-chief executives of Archie Comic Publications, of Mamaroneck, N.Y., included several errors.
It was Richard Goldwater (not Michael) whose estate sold a 25 percent share of the business to one of the chief executives, Jon Goldwater. And Richard and Jon were half brothers, not brothers.
The other chief executive, Nancy Silberkleit, is the trustee of the Silberkleit Trust, which holds 50 percent of Archie Comic Publications; Jon Goldwater owns 25 percent. They do not each control 50 percent of the business. (The other 25 percent is in a trust for Richard Goldwater’s three daughters.)
And the settlement was reached through court-recommended mediation, not through arbitration.
Two in Dispute Over Control of Archie Comic Company Reach Settlement
June 6, 2012
The New York Times