Florida Man Becomes Billionaire After Taking Huge Stake In A Florida Company

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A Florida man has invested a vast fortune in the Florida-based technology company he launched almost 30 years ago.

Charles “Chuck” Coates announced in September that he bought a small stake in Olin Corp., a company with roughly a billion dollars worth of assets.

Olin had been the focus of an antitrust lawsuit for nearly 25 years, after its then president, Richard J. White, was accused by a judge of conspiring to use Olin to sell shares to investors to fund White’s own legal and political pursuits. The suits were later dropped.

Mr. Coates didn’t immediately give a specific value for his investment, but he said in a statement last week that he’s still “actively engaged” in Olin.

Olin declined to comment on its president-elect Monday. A new CEO will succeed Mr. Coates.

A former federal prosecutor now running a technology firm in Sarasota, Mr. Coates helped create a company called Eterna Corp., which was the focus of an antitrust investigation in 1996 into the merger of a phone company with two insurance companies.

A federal judge in Chicago, Harold Kahn, later ruled that the companies couldn’t combine to raise money. Eterna Corp. then filed for bankruptcy protection a few months later, along with Eterna Corp.’s former president.

“I’m here to protect the interests of individuals and I want to do it right and I want it done fast,” Mr. Coates said, according to a news release. He said he will take a seat on Olin’s board.

The Miami Herald also reported that Mr. White was fired on Sunday, days after a judge cleared a lawsuit involving a $1 billion loan from the company to the University of Florida and a loan to a hotel.

Mr. Coates bought the Eterna shares last week while making an early retirement announcement and said he planned to use the proceeds to “protect my family.”

He’s expected to work up to 10 hours a day while making money, his attorney said.

“He’s not a billionaire. He has more money than I do,” Anthony J. Giovanelli said.

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