TORONTO — AutoCanada’s $250-million lawsuit against its former CEO Patrick Priestner was issued in “bad faith” in an attempt to acquire his dealerships at “below market value,” Priestner alleges in a defence statement filed Tuesday to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
AutoCanada Inc. in February alleged that Priestner acted against the interests of the company when he acquired dealerships through private companies, including Canada One Auto Group Ltd., of which he is CEO. Priestner denied those claims, saying AutoCanada’s board was aware of and authorized him to pursue those opportunities.
“As the founder and largest shareholder of AutoCanada, my focus and financial interest were always to grow the company and create value for all of its shareholders,” Priestner said in a press release issued Wednesday. “The record shows unequivocally that my team and I did so. In contrast, unable to otherwise grow and create shareholder value, AutoCanada’s current leadership team has resorted to a transparent attempt to misappropriate the dealerships I acquired with AutoCanada’s express permission.”