Anheuser-Busch Cos. yesterday sued former deputy defense secretary Paul Thayer and other defendants for more than $250 million, charging that they engaged in insider stock trading that substantially increased the company's cost of acquiring a Dallas food concern in 1982.
The St. Louis-based beer conglomerate charged that Thayer, while a member of its board of directors, breached his fiduciary duty by improperly disclosing its plans for the acquisition of Campbell Taggart Inc. of Dallas. The suit seeks $80 million in damages resulting from the surge in trading.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas, said three of Thayer's friends and their associates bought and sold at least 324,000 shares of Campbell Taggart stock during a one-month period in 1982, boosting the stock's price and causing Anheuser-Busch "to pay considerably more . . . than it would have paid without such improper and illegal activity."
The suit also alleges securities fraud and wrongful disclosure and seeks triple damages under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a statute principally aimed at organized crime.
The suit asks $5 million in punitive damages from Thayer; $150 million from Dallas stockbroker Billy Bob Harris and his brokerage firm, A.G. Edwards & Co.; $50 million from Atlanta stockbroker William H. Mathis and his firm, Bear, Stearns & Co.; and $1 million each from Thayer associates Gayle Schroeder, Malcolm Davis and Doyle Sharp.