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Former president of Chinese group that owns 22 Grand Strand golf courses sues ex-business partner

Source: WMBF News Source: WMBF News

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The former president of Founders Group International, a company overseen by Chinese investors that owns 22 golf courses along the Grand Strand, has filed a lawsuit against his ex-business partner alleging a misappropriation of company funds.

According to the lawsuit, filed June 22 in Horry County Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff Nick Dou is asking the court to enjoin defendant Dan Liu “from any further action that would dispose of, divert, harm, convert, encumber, or in any way deplete or diminish the assets of FGI or any of the affiliated FGI Entities, for his own personal use, benefit or private gain.”

Liu is named individually in the lawsuit, as well as an agent for Jiangsu Tianru Danfo Commerce and Industry Co., Ltd.; Nanjing Shuojun Trade and Industry Co., Ltd.; and Nanjing Xinyuanyuan Commerce and Trade Co., Ltd.

According to the lawsuit, Dou and Liu were introduced to one another at a meeting in Nanjing, China in 2011. The two eventually started working together to locate properties to invest in, preferably in the U.S.

Their company, FGI, subsequently acquired 22 golf courses along the Grand Strand, including Pine Lakes Country Club, Grande Dunes Resort Course, Litchfield Country Club, Aberdeen and The Long Bays Club.

Dou held 10 percent ownership interests, according to court documents, while 90 percent was held by one or more of Liu’s Chinese companies.

The plaintiff was named FGI’s president in October 2014 and served in that capacity until he was fired by the defendant on June 19, the lawsuit states.

Dou’s reported firing came three days after Liu terminated two of FGI’s senior executives – general manager Rick Taylor and chief financial officer/vice president Tommy Smothers.

“Plaintiff Nick Dou is gravely concerned regarding the decisions being made by Defendant Dan Liu and the impact those decisions and actions have had, and may continue to have, on Plaintiff’s interest in the FGI Entities, and on the company and the employees of FGI, and the affiliated FGI Entities, which Plaintiff has devoted three years of his life into building into a successful business venture,” the lawsuit stated.

Dou makes the following allegations in his lawsuit:

  • Liu transferred “substantial assets” of FGI to an entity known as D&C International Holdings, LLC
  • Liu caused FGI to lease office space from D&C International for space to maintain a customer call center, even though FGI has ample office space that is vacant
  • The defendant has had FGI employ members of his immediate and extended family, despite any “substantial benefit” they offer the company
  • Liu has had the company purchase and pay for the repair, maintenance and upkeep of a luxury fishing boat that is titled in the name of Offshore Captain LLC, an entity owned and controlled by the defendant. The invoiced purchase price was $389,615.
  • The defendant caused one of FGI’s entities to transfer $550,000 to a New York City attorney, who was retained to represent Liu on personal legal matters related to a criminal investigation in China involving alleged investment fraud
  • The plaintiff believes recent events at FGI constitute a “purge” of anyone at the company who would question Liu’s actions

The plaintiff is asking the court to, among other requests, restrain the defendant from further depleting FGI’s assets, appoint a receiver over the company and require Liu to return any misappropriated assets to FGI.

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