After a bruising battle for control of one of the Twin Cities' largest family-owned businesses, the former chief executive of Twin City Fan Cos. has reached a truce with his son and other family members.
Under terms of the deal, longtime chief executive Charles Barry has agreed to sell his 26.6 percent share of the company for $15 million to $20 million, according to an attorney who has been briefed on the terms. His son Michael gains control of the manufacturing company, which employs 1,500 people in five states.
Several ongoing lawsuits were put on hold this month after family members agreed to a term sheet resolving all claims, according to an order filed by Hennepin County Judge Bruce Peterson. The cases have been suspended for a year to give family members time to finalize an agreement.
The family feud erupted in early 2016 after an internal investigation triggered by the pending sale of the company revealed questionable spending by Charles Barry, court documents show. Though the sale later collapsed, family members turned against Barry when they found out he had provided at least $11 million in support to his longtime girlfriend and current wife Kathleen Bryan-Barry, court records show.
Family members accused Barry of misusing corporate resources to support Bryan-Barry, a charge Charles Barry has repeatedly denied. Charles Barry accused his ex-wife and children of using the affair to shove him out of the company.
The pending settlement finalizes the departure of Charles Barry, whom family members fired from his $3.5 million-a-year job this spring. Lawyers continue to hammer out many of the details, including who is going to pay for Charles Barry's multimillion-dollar life insurance policies.
"It's a very detailed term sheet," said one attorney.
With annual sales of $275 million, Twin City Fan is one of the largest makers of industrial fans in the United States. Its products range from small exhaust fans to large blowers that move air in automobile and steel factories.
Charles Barry declined to discuss the terms of the case. But he indicated that family members have agreed not to pursue criminal charges against him, explaining he will no longer need the services of his criminal lawyer, Bill Mauzy.
"It absolves me of all of the junk the other side has tried to shove down my throat," Charles Barry said in an interview.
This spring, a group of outside attorneys recommended that Twin City Fan take legal steps to recover about $21 million from Charles Barry, finding that he had unilaterally approved millions of dollars in excessive compensation for himself and took other actions that violated his duties as chairman and CEO of the company.
The report was harshly critical of Bryan-Barry's use of a corporate jet, noting that Charles Barry "took affirmative steps to conceal the fact that Ms. Bryan was using the plane." Altogether, Bryan-Barry and her guests used the leased plane on more than 120 trips without Charles Barry at a cost of about $2.8 million, records show.
Charles and Kathleen Barry married in December 2016, 12 days after Charles and his first wife were granted a divorce.
A possible criminal investigation surfaced during a hearing earlier this year when an attorney for Charles Barry accused Michael Barry of using the report to persuade the Internal Revenue Service to launch its own investigation of his father. Chris Madel, an attorney for Michael Barry, acknowledged an ongoing IRS investigation, but he said Michael Barry did not initiate it.
"I have represented several individuals that have settled civil cases where the IRS continued a criminal investigation," Madel said this week. "The IRS is going to do what they want to do."
IRS officials have declined to comment, saying they do not discuss "any open cases."