Cinar Settles Class-Action Suit
Founders Appoint Trustee. Cinar Corporation has reached an agreement in principle to settle the claims against it and certain other defendants in class actions brought in Canada and the United States. The plaintiffs have agreed to receive an aggregate US$25 million in full settlement of the claims against Cinar and such other defendants. The allocation of the settlement amount among the parties was not disclosed and the settlement is subject to approval by the courts in the United States and Quebec. In other Cinar news, company founders Micheline Charest and Ronald A. Weinberg, who were dismissed by the company's board of directors nearly two years ago, and recently fined $1 million Canadian each for their roles in the troubled entertainment company's legal woes, made their presence felt at an April 29, 2002 shareholders meeting. On Saturday, April 28, 2002 the couple, who hold a 63.77% voting interest in Cinar, issued a statement saying they had signed a voting trust agreement with Canadian businessman Robert Despres, pursuant to the March 15, 2002 decision by the Quebec Securities Commission. Charest and Weinberg are barred from holding executive or board member positions with any publicly listed firm in Canada for five years, but under the agreement, as their trustee, Despres can exercise the voting rights attached to the Cinar shares held by the couple for the election of directors. At the April 29 meeting Despres did just that, using the majority stake in the company to replace the existing board with a new nine-member board including himself, Pierre Desjardins, chairman of TouchTunes Music Corporation, Lisa de Wilde, former president and CEO of Astral Television Networks and David L. Simon, president of Simon Bros, Media and Entertainment, among others. According to C21 Media, president and CEO Barry Usher, who has helmed Cinar for the past two years, is stepping down to be replaced by an as-yet-unnamed successor that will be decided by the new Cinar board.