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Former In-N-Out Exec Suspended as Co-Trustee

Richard Boyd helped oversee trusts that hold most of the company's stock. He is fighting the firm's heiress in court.

April 04, 2006|Ronald D. White | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has temporarily suspended a former In-N-Out Burgers executive as co-trustee of nearly two-thirds of the private company's stock.

Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff issued the ruling late Friday, saying that the trust properties or beneficiary "may suffer loss or injury" pending a decision on whether to permanently remove Richard Boyd as co-trustee.

The ruling on the three trusts was the latest episode in a bitter fight at In-N-Out, the Irvine-based chain known for its Double-Double hamburger.

On one side is Boyd, who was removed from the three-member In-N-Out board in January and relieved of his duties as vice president of real estate and development.

On the other side is Vice President Mark Taylor and 23-year-old Lynsi Martinez, the only grandchild of company co-founder Esther L. Snyder.

Boyd filed a lawsuit in January, accusing Taylor and Martinez of trying to wrest control of the company from Snyder, who is 86 and said to be in poor health. The company countersued, portraying Snyder as an active board member and president and accusing Boyd of fraud and embezzlement.

Both sides have denied the allegations leveled at them.

The three trusts contain more than 65% of In-N-Out's stock. Martinez is set to inherit one-third of the shares at age 25, and the rest in two blocks on her 30th and 35th birthdays. She already owns almost 25% of In-N-Out's stock.

Beckloff's ruling on the trusteeship is temporary, pending a hearing May 10. Beckloff appointed Northern Trust Bank of California to serve as co-trustee with Taylor in the interim.

In a statement, Martinez said: "I am very pleased and feel that justice has been done."

Boyd's attorney Philip Heller said, "It is a temporary suspension. He has not been permanently removed. There has been no determination of anything on the merits."

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