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1978-1998 Vector


Trouble for the Vector
The early 1990s were a tumultuous time for Vector, with Indonesian investors being brought aboard and Wiegert being ousted from his own company.
The early 1990s were a tumultuous time for Vector, with Indonesian investors being brought aboard and Wiegert being ousted from his own company.

Wiegert remembers that after the Geneva show, two of his directors were going to be fired. While the show was going on, the soon-to-be-ex-employees of Vector were looking to secure their positions within the company. The pair convinced the Indonesian investors to keep them and remove Wiegert instead.

When Wiegert returned from Geneva, he found that the directors had laid off all 20 Vector employees. Chief financial officer John Pope told Wiegert that his options were to resign and leave, quit the presidency and become head of design, or be fired. Wiegert viewed this as a conspiracy to take his company

Wiegert changed the locks on the company's headquarters. Media reports claimed that Wiegert had barricaded himself in the building and hired security guards to keep out the board members; he was marked as the antagonist in this story The investors made a "fraudulent presentation to the press," stated Wiegert, "and my counsel told me not to talk to the press."

A court hearing was held on March 26, 1993, in which it was ruled that the directors had to show just cause for Wiegert's termination. "The judge indicated these guys [the directors] had no right to come in here without my permission," Wiegert told Automotive News in its April 5 edition. "Do the directors of Lockheed or IBM have the master keys to the headquarters?"

Pope's response in the newspaper was, "the contract [with Wiegert] means that Jerry can sue us for 90 days' pay (about $69,000), but he's going to sue us saying that there was no basis for his termination."

On September 14, 1993, the court declared that the stockholders own the company and that their elected board of directors had the power to manage the business. Wiegert was ordered to turn over the keys to the building.

Wiegert initiated a number of lawsuits with the stockholders of Vector. The company reported it had "dedicated significant resources and management time to this ongoing litigation." Among the suits between Vector and Wiegert were claims for unpaid rent, for breach of employment, and for the return of business assets to the company founder.

Claims the new owners were pursuing included litigation against Merrill Lynch, former Vector secretary David Kostka, and Tokai Bank of California, all for unapproved investment funds. The Indonesians found many problems with Wiegert's management.

Go on to the next page to read about the redesign of the Vector.

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