LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A family dispute over control of the Al J. Schneider Co. has landed in Jefferson County court as the sale of its crown jewel, the Galt House Hotel, appears imminent.
Four heirs to the fortune of the late commercial developer Al J. Schneider are asking a judge to affirm their right to manage the Schneider Co., whose holdings include the Galt House, two downtown office buildings and the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotel.
The petition, filed last Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court, was in response to a court action last week by other beneficiaries of the Schneider trust who are seeking to strip decision-making power from Mary J. Moseley, the Schneider Co.'s president and CEO, and three co-trustees.
But on Monday, beneficiaries Nancy O’Hearn and Christe Coe -- who are Moseley's sisters -- asked Circuit Court Judge Mary Shaw to dismiss the petition and return the issue to District Court, or issue a restraining order that would block the Moseley group from selling the Galt House and other “business interests” of the Schneider Co.
In court filings, Coe alleges that Moseley’s group is trying to “hastily and recklessly liquidate” the Schneider Co. and its assets, including the Galt House.
The court fight comes less than a month after public records suggested the Galt House might soon be sold to a Northern Kentucky hotel management firm. The Schneider Co. has also acknowledged exploring the “possible disposition” of its downtown office buildings, One Riverfront Plaza and Waterfront Plaza.
The family feud pits Schneider’s four surviving daughters against each other – Moseley and Dawn M. Hitron on one side; Coe and O’Hearn on the other.
On March 9, Coe and O’Hearn challenged the authority of Moseley’s group to manage and make decisions for the trust, according to Circuit Court documents.
Coe and O’Hearn’s petition is part of a probate case in Jefferson District Court connected to the Schneider trust, which has power over the hotel company’s voting stock. Their petition is sealed from public view, but it is described in a Circuit Court action filed by the Moseley group on March 11.
The Moseley group, which also includes R. Joseph Mittel and Michael B. Mountjoy, is asking for the probate case to be moved to Circuit Court and for a ruling that it can manage the trust as set forth in the governing documents.
Mittel has been associated with the Galt House, including a role as general manager. Mountjoy is chairman of Louisville accounting firm Mountjoy Chilton Medley.
Moseley, Hitron, Coe, Mittel and Mountjoy are the five co-trustees of the Al J. Schneider Restated Revocable Trust Agreement of 1985, according to the Moseley group’s petition.
While Coe evidently disagrees with the other four co-trustees, including her sisters, the trust’s management is controlled by a “majority vote” of the five, according to the Moseley group’s petition.
Amy Cubbage, attorney for the Moseley group, declined to comment. Messages left with attorneys for Coe and O’Hearn were not immediate returned Monday afternoon.
Schneider, who died in 2001, built the Galt House at 4th and Main streets, among other projects.
On Feb. 19, Columbia Sussex, a Northern Kentucky company that owns and operates chain hotels, placed a legal ad in The Courier-Journal indicating its intent to apply for liquor licenses at the Galt House.
The ad was in the name of CP Galt House LLC, a Kentucky firm formed on Jan. 15 that lists Columbia Sussex’s address in Crestview Hills, Ky., as its principal office.
Anytime an establishment serving alcohol changes hands, the new owner must get its own licenses to continue serving alcohol.
Columbia Sussex executives have ignored calls for comment, while a Schneider Co. spokeswoman said last month that the hotel – to her knowledge -- is not for sale.
On March 8, CP Galt House LLC applied for a zoning certification for the Galt House property 140 N. 4th St. -- another required step in getting alcohol licenses, Louisville Metro planning records show.
Last month, the Schneider Co. also said it has hired commercial real estate brokerage CBRE to explore the “potential disposition or refinancing” of its downtown office buildings, One Riverfront Plaza and Waterfront Plaza.
Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved. Note: This story has been updated to reflect new court filings in the case.