By T. D. Thornton
Frank Stronach’s youngest granddaughter has just joined the family fray that involves a complex series of lawsuits and counter-suits over control of The Stronach Group (TSG), the billion-dollar family empire whose portfolio includes six United States racetracks and a Thoroughbred breeding, racing, and training division.
The Globe and Mail was first to report Feb. 14 that Selena Stronach, 18, went to Ontario Superior Court of Justice last week “with a suit aimed at maintaining a jet-set lifestyle and limiting the role of her aunt Belinda Stronach,” who is Frank Stronach’s daughter and was years ago appointed as his hand-picked chairman and president of TSG.
According to the Globe and Mail, Selena Stronach is the daughter of Andrew Stronach, Frank’s son. The paper said her lawsuit is seeking that Belinda Stronach “pay or reimburse Selena for personal expenses that have historically been paid or reimbursed on her behalf through the trusts and/or TSG.”
The Globe and Mail reported that both Selena Stronach and her mother, Kathleen Stronach, receive “$15,000 [CDN] a month in direct transfers from the family’s private holding company, TSG, plus unrestricted use of credit cards, and private jet flights for monthly vacations at five- and six-star hotels.” Selena Stronach owns a ranch with one full-time employee, where she raises cattle that are shown in country fairs, and “the operation is expensive to run,” court documents said.
Those financial details were all disclosed back in January when Kathleen Stronach filed her own claim of support from the Stronach family as part of divorce proceedings against her husband, Andrew Stronach.
The Stronach clan’s long-simmering rancor became public back in October, when Frank Stronach, the 86-year-old family patriarch, filed a lawsuit in conjunction with his wife, Elfriede, alleging “a complete break-down” of family relationships as a result of years of strife and power struggles within TSG.
That suit sought the removal of his daughter from all corporate officer and trustee positions related to the Stronach empire, and also demanded a jury trial to award $540 million (CDN) in compensation and damages. Two of Frank Stronach’s grandchildren—Nicole and Frank Walker, Belinda’s children—were named as co-defendants.
Separately, Andrew Stronach filed his own lawsuit in November alleging similar TSG malfeasance as a result of his sister’s “serious misconduct.” His suit does not seek financial redress.
Belinda Stronach answered her father’s court claim with a statement of defense and counter-suit Jan. 21 that alleged Frank Stronach’s erratic behavior and ill-advised “passion projects” have cost the family some $850 million (CDN), “with hundreds of millions of this amount likely being irretrievably lost.”
The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that Belinda Stronach replied to a request for comment with an email that said “[Selena’s] legal actions were anticipated because my brother and his wife are not yet legally separated, and my niece has just turned 18. Their individual family arrangements are up to them. We have provided my father and my brother with detailed financial information over many years, which is well documented. We continue to manage our business and trusts with transparent financial principles and good governance and defend against untrue allegations.”
Among 247 other TSG holdings, the Stronach family firm owns Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Portland Meadows.