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Firm Awarded 20% of Stock in ComputerLand

March 12, 1985|Associated Press

OAKLAND — In an award that may be worth more than $400 million, a jury found Monday that a group of investors is entitled to 20% of the stock of ComputerLand Corp. and a group of other companies owned by William Millard.

In a case that has dragged on since 1981, an Alameda County jury decided that Micro/Vest Corp., a group of 60 investors, has the legal right to the stock because of a 9-year-old debt by Millard, one of the world's richest men, for $250,000.

The jury has not yet ruled on the question of possible punitive damages, which could make the award "the largest overall verdict in a commercial trial," according to Micro/Vest attorney Herbert Hafif, who estimated that the stock is worth $300 million to $400 million.

ComputerLand spokesman John Porter said the company would have no comment on the jury's decision until the next phase of the trial has been completed.

ComputerLand is the world's largest computer retailer with nearly 800 franchised stores and revenue of $1.4 billion in 1984.

The Alameda County Superior Court case centers on a note issued by Millard, ComputerLand's founder, owner and chairman, entitling its holder to a 20% share in ComputerLand's stock, Hafif said.

Millard issued the note in February, 1976, in exchange for a $250,000 loan to keep his business interests afloat, the attorney said.

According to Hafif, the note was issued to Marriner & Co., a Massachusetts company, and was revised in May, 1977. Micro/Vest, headed by John Martin-Musumeci, a former ComputerLand employee, later acquired the note and chose to convert it to stock in 1981, but ComputerLand balked and a suit was filed.

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