SUNRISE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A recently filed lawsuit claims that stem cell company Bioheart, Inc. (BHRT.OB) accepted millions of dollars in loan guarantees from a former company officer and his now ex-wife but acknowledges that it failed to pay back more than $2 million. The lawsuit was filed by the law firm Fox Wackeen of Stuart, Fla. on behalf of investor Brenda Leonhardt and Bryan Collins, a Miami-based financier. According to company filings, the company counts as investors former Miami Dolphins players Dan Marino and Jason Taylor.
According to the lawsuit, in 2007 Mrs. Leonhardt and her then husband Howard signed a personal guarantee on a Bioheart loan from Bank of America. The couple later paid $3 million to the bank as part of the guarantee, with the contractual expectation that they would be repaid by Bioheart.
In 2013, Bioheart acknowledged that more than $2 million was owed to Mrs. Leonhardt, and the company carried the debt on its books. Despite efforts to collect, the plaintiffs have not been repaid.
“According to company filings, Bioheart has a history of asking its investors, including me, Dan Marino and Jason Taylor, to guarantee its loans,” said Leonhardt. “But unlike the local football greats, I’m waiting to be paid back millions.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants breached their fiduciary duty by restructuring other debt owned by board members to the detriment of creditors who do not sit on the board, such as Leonhardt.
The suit seeks $2,269,204.84 plus interest from December 31, 2012. Also named as defendants in the suit are Bioheart chairman and founder of Cordis Corporation Dr. William P. Murphy, Jr., Bioheart CEO Mike Tomas, Bruce C. Carson, Richard T. Spencer, III, Mark Borman, Dr. Samuel S. Ahn, Charles Hart and Northstar Biotechnology Group, LLC.
“In 2007, I helped the company and its executives raise much needed capital,” said Leonhardt. “Instead of graciously repaying me, I have to file a lawsuit and chase them down.”