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Decades-Long Business Partnership Ends In $13 Million Lawsuit Judgment


Some people spend decades looking forward to retirement, and they retire as soon as they reach an age where they are eligible for retirement.  Others continue working well past their 70th birthday.  The latter tend to belong to professions where the work tasks are fun and interesting regardless of how much you get paid.  Musicians and economists are famous for never wanting to retire, but there is at least one real estate developer in Southern California who is still going strong in his profession at the ripe old age of 90.  As long as you are in business, business disputes can happen, even between partners who have been working together for decades.  A Los Angeles business litigation lawyer can help you if a dispute has arisen between you and your longtime business partner.

Court Rules Against CEO Who Defrauded Business Partner by Selling Mansion to Himself

Stanley Black and Robert Barth have worked together for more than 35 years.  Black is the founder of Black Equities Group, and Barth is its CEO; the company owns a total of 18 million square feet of real estate properties in various states.  Black and Barth are also partners in other business ventures.  They were also close friends until the matter of the Greenway Drive mansion happened.

The property, which is located near the Los Angeles Country Club and the Playboy Mansion, sold for $17 million in 2017.  The buyer was an LLC controlled by Barth; Black was one of the investors in the LLC that bought the mansion.

Several months later, Eric Barker offered to buy the property for $21.2 million, which would have made a handsome profit for the investors, but Barth refused to accept less than $25 million.  Barker agreed, but before selling the house to Barker, Barth sold it to himself, so that he would get the proceeds from Barker’s purchase while Black and the other investors would not.

Black, 90, sued Barth, alleging fraud.  He requested $6,692,740, which is how much money he would have made if Barth’s LLC had sold the Greenway Drive property directly to Barker instead of selling it to himself first.  The case resulted in a two-week trial in March 2022.  At the conclusion of the trial, the court awarded Black the amount he requested in compensatory damages.  It also ordered Barth to pay an equivalent amount in punitive damages, which added up a total award of more than $13 million.  Meanwhile, Black and Barth remain business partners, at least on paper, in various other ventures.  This means that the ruling might not be the end of their legal disputes.

Speak With a Los Angeles Business Dispute Lawyer

A Los Angeles business partner dispute lawyer can help you if your business partner betrayed or defrauded you after decades of working together, causing you to suffer financial losses.  Contact Litigation, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call (424)284-2401.


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