The family of Tony Marohn is suing Coke over a stock certificate he bought at a garage sale in 2008, which means the shakedown is now worth $130 million. Tony has since passed away in 2010, but the family is trying to cash in on the money.
The stock was issued by Palmer Union Oil in 1917. The Marohn family contends that the defunct oil company merged with another company, which in turn merged with the Coca-Cola Company. The family says that the Palmer Oil certificate should translate to 1.8 million shares of Coke.
Meanwhile, the soda company contends that the details of the merge are not accurate and that the Palmer Oil stock was not transferable to Coke stock.
“The claim of Mr. Marohn’s estate that it is entitled to millions of dollars in Coca-Cola stock – based on a canceled stock certificate for a long-defunct oil company purchased at an estate sale – is meritless and unfair to the Company’s millions of legitimate shareholders,” Coca-Cola said in a statement last week.
The case is currently being heard in a Delaware court. At a January hearing, Judge Leo Strine let the Marohn family know of his dissatisfaction of their attempt to shake down a large public company.
“This is a new version of the Beverly Hillbillies,” Judge Strine said. Before warning the Marohn against pursuing “a drive-by of a public company” to get millions of dollars.”It’s just not a sport,” he added.