Following his divorce, John Marriott III says he was forced out of the family hotel business and then cut off from the $3 billion family trust. The Marriott’s are Mormons and divorce is not an option for them.
The New York Post reported in its recent article, “Marriott heir sues dad for booting him from family trust over divorce,” that Bill Marriott disowned his son, setting him on the path to financial ruin, according to the lawsuit filed by John in a Washington, DC court. John’s fighting back, with a lawsuit against his father.
John also sued his uncle Richard because he and Bill, his brother, share control of the $2.8 billion trust established by John’s grandparents J. Willard and Alice Marriott, the founders of the hotel chain.
The Marriott family are devout Mormons and strongly disapprove of divorce.
“To sue my dad and my uncle is the last thing I want to do, and the last thing I ever expected to do,” said the 56-year-old former Marriott executive.
Bill Marriott, 85, the hotel company’s executive chairman, “has tried to take away everything that I’ve earned and everything that my grandparents left for me,” John said.
The suit’s major claim is that his father and uncle breached their fiduciary duties by denying John his rightful share of the family fortune. His only crime, he told The Washingtonian, was “not maintaining the image of the perfect Mormon family.”
The punishment may seem harsh for a third-generation hotelier who started in the family business as a 15-year-old dishwasher. He climbed the corporate ladder to executive VP before exiting in 2006, one year after he sensed his father no longer thought he was worthy of the top job.
The family trust, JWM Family Enterprises, owns 24.2 million shares of Marriott International and are worth about $2.7 billion. Chairman Bill has an additional 15.4 million shares that are worth about $1.8 billion.
There was no response to The Post reporter’s request for comment, although a spokesperson for Bill and Richard did tell The Washingtonian that the brothers had not read John’s complaint. There may be some eye-opening revelations for them, as John bares his soul in the document, including his thoughts about suicide at a very young age.
Reference: The New York Post (October 31, 2017) “Marriott heir sues dad for booting him from family trust over divorce”