Founder of anti-microbial products maker Sweports, UMF sues law firm for 'vexatious litigation'

By Bree Gonzales | Jun 12, 2018

The founder of two companies which together manufactured anti-microbial cleaning products is suing a law firm partnership for allegedly interfering in his business and conspiring to take it from him.

CHICAGO —  The founder of two companies which together manufactured anti-microbial cleaning products is suing a law firm partnership for allegedly interfering in his business and conspiring to take it from him.

George Clarke, founder of Sweports Ltd. and UMF Corp., filed a complaint June 1 in Cook County Circuit Court against defendants Lee Abrams, Tina White, Michael O'Rourke, Michael Moody, O'Rourke & Moody, John Dore, Andrew Chenelle and Neal Wolf, alleging the defendants wrongly used the legal process to constrain Sweports' assets.

According to the complaint, between 2007 and 2017, Clarke allegedly lost his businesses and has been deprived of dividends. Additionally, Clarke said he was unable to obtain the needed financing to pay the companies' debts because the defendants allegedly tried to use a "scheme" of "vexatious litigation" to take over the plaintiff's companies. 

"The purpose of the litigation was to seek inflated amounts of damages, impose the burden of legal fees upon Sweports, and to use the existence of the litigation to pevent UMF and Sweports from raising sufficient capital or financing to pay the legitimate debts of Sweports and to fully exploit the business expectancies belonging to UMF and Sweports," the complaint said.

According to the complaint, the defendants allegedly used litigation to undervalue the companies, to effect their takeover of the companies.

The complaint also alleges the defendants informed the companies' lenders and creditors of the "multiplicity" of lawsuits against Sweports and UMF, resulting in reduction in credit and a lack of additional financing. 

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek $100,000 for compensatory damages and $1 million for punitive damages per plaintiff - Clarke, Sweports and UMF - for each count. They are represented by Anthony S. DiVincenzo and Robert Queeney of Robert W. Queeney LLC in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2018-L-005737

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