Judge Orders Ex-Fabick Cat CEO to Sell Back Voting Shares

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Following a two-year legal battle, a Missouri judge has ruled that Doug Fabick, former chair and CEO of Fabick Cat, must sell his voting stake in the Caterpillar dealership.

Doug Fabick was removed as chairman and CEO of the family-owned company based in Fenton, Missouri, in early March 2022. The succession plan was approved by Caterpillar, and Doug was replaced by his cousin, JerĂ© Fabick, who had served as president and co-dealer principal since 2015.

Fabick Cat proceeded to sue Doug for refusing to sell his stake in the business, citing a 2004 agreement. The agreement outlined that Doug must sell his 63% majority stake in the company if he is removed as dealer principal. Doug argued he wasn’t "properly removed" as dealer principal, according to initial reports.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Nicole Zellweger ruled on March 5 that Doug's agreement with the company was a valid contract, and ordered him to sell his 100 voting shares back to the firm at $100 per share, according to a March 6 report from the St. Louis Business Journal. In total, Fabick Cat has 300 voting shares. The report also claims that Doug owns non-voting company stock, which is not included in the lawsuit.  

In court documents, Zellweger referenced a paragraph of the agreement discussing the voluntary transfer of shares. She says it did not use the word "only," and that "it would certainly seem logical" that if the agreement were only to cover a voluntary transfer or transfer upon death, "the word 'only' or some similar world would have been used."

In addition, a second passage outlines "requirements" for the sale of shares, including if "at any time" Doug "is no longer designated as dealer principal,” according to the report.

Fabick Cat did not respond to Equipment World's request for comments on the lawsuit.

Fabick Cat was founded in 1917 by Doug’s great-grandfather John Fabick Sr., and by 1927 was named the exclusive Caterpillar dealer for the St. Louis region.

In 2015, Fabick Cat merged with Fabco Equipment, out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time of the merger, Doug Fabick served as president and COO of Fabick Cat, and JerĂ© Fabick served as president and CEO of Fabco.

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Fabick employs 1,200 people across 37 locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Wisconsin. The company reported more than $1.18 billion in revenue in 2022.