Lawyers: Suit against De Tomaso “will reverberate” within the supercar industry

De Tomaso

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York federal court against defendants De Tomaso Automobili Holdings N.A. LLC, its majority shareholder, Sung-Fung “Norman” Choi, and others, “will reverberate loudly across the world of limited-edition, exclusive, multi-million-dollar supercars.” So says a press release for the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, who represent plaintiff Ryan Berris, who alleges that although he was enlisted by Choi to help return the De Tomaso brand to its glory days as a prominent luxury manufacturer, he was ultimately deceived by Choi and forced out of his role as co-owner, CEO, and CMO, so that Choi could lay the groundwork for a fraudulent scheme.

The rebirth of De Tomaso “was spearheaded by two individuals: Ryan Berris and Norman Choi.” Berris is a brand development and marketing specialist for elite luxury automotive brands and brought with him industry expertise and an extensive network of artisans, designers, engineers, and connoisseurs, “all of whom were essential to relaunching De Tomaso,” the release claims. Choi was “purportedly” a Hong Kong financier who attempted automotive endeavors by purchasing defunct brands, but found himself unable to execute, until he met Berris.

“I dedicated my life to reviving De Tomaso, building one of the world’s timeless supercars and providing opportunities for others,” said Berris. “I turned De Tomaso into a global success only to discover that my entrepreneurial spirit and labor were being exploited as the legacy brand was being pillaged by bad actors.”

“Ryan Berris nearly single-handedly revived De Tomaso into a world-class, high-performance automaker with an enviable roster of endorsers and customers, and a billion-dollar-plus valuation, but was paid only a fraction of the compensation he was entitled to and ultimately forced out of the company,” said attorney John T. Zach of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. “The complaint alleges that this was part of a fraudulent scheme by Norman Choi and others to manipulate the company’s value, engage in a series of non-arm’s length transactions, and cash out.”

Having spent years working for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and later helping build Apollo Automobil into a hypercar brand, Berris was “poised to continue his rise with De Tomaso.” Berris alleges that Choi’s reckless conduct undermined the core strength of the re-invented De Tomaso brand—elite craftsmanship and design—and that Choi never intended to invest properly in the company’s growth, but rather sought only to artificially inflate its value and profit from a fraudulent scheme.

“This lawsuit is Berris’s stand to shine a light on Choi’s deception and protect the De Tomaso brand and its customers,” says the attorneys’ press release.




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    It’d really be a shame if the P72 never happens. The world doesn’t need another supercar, but man was it spectacular, especially in person.

    Do you suppose that after all is said and done, they’ll have a “fire sale”? Pennies on the dollar? That’s the only chance I’d ever have of even sniffing – let alone owning – one. But yes, it seems a shame – it kind of looked like they were going to make some real waves in the hyper-car world. If Berris is correct, and he is indeed owed millions, I hope he prevails. Sounds like he really did his job!

    DeTomaso is a dead brand to me. Nothing about this new “venture” seems DeTomaso. It’s yet another vaporware exotic car rendering on PC.

    Are these people new here?

    This is de rigueur in American business; buy a diminishing brand/corporation, leverage the Hell out of it on goodwill, exercise options, request dissolution and leave shareholders and creditors holding the bag.

    There is a long list of companies to which this very process occurred over the past forty years. The complaintant simply found himself in the Works-For-Hire position wherein none of his team’s effort translated into ownership.

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