Close to home, the four daughters of the founder of Griffin Industries, an animal rendering and food recycling company located in Greater Cincinnati, are suing 3 of their brothers for allegedly cheating them out of their inheritance. They are also suing the law firm that advised the company and several family members. To make their claim, they are relying on the federal RICO statute which was crafted to combat organized crime in the 1970s and alleging that their brothers were part of a racketeering enterprise. Their mother died in 1985 and their father died in 1995. The father had executed a trust in 1967. Griffin Industries was sold for $840 million in 2010.
1. In the interest of full disclosure, I used to work for the law firm being sued in the case. I have no knowledge of the matter other than what is in the linked article.
2. In the small world category, my law school professor, Robert Blakey, crafted the RICO statute when he was a Senate staffer and the issue of civil RICO actions was a frequent law review topic in the mid-80s.
3. At some time between 1967 and 1995, the father should have revised his will and trust to reflect the current status of the business, his current finances, and the differing contributions of the family members to the business.
4. The case is being litigated in federal court under a RICO theory presumably because the statute of limitations for litigating a will and trust contest has long since expired.
5. With $840 million to be divided among family members, one would think that there were enough spoils for everyone to get along especially those not involved in the business operations and its success.
6. $840 million is an incredible number for a business that started with collecting road kill. Rendering seems to be the ultimate recycling business. And most profitable, too.