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Car dealer sues partner

Lawsuit: Mercedes-Benz of Valencia part owner claims a breach of trust

Posted: February 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Kevin Malone, part owner of the Mercedes-Benz car dealership in Valencia, is suing his business partner Leonard Sage for allegedly breaching his trust when it came to managing the company.

Malone, the former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is also claiming damages in Los Angeles County Superior Court. His lawsuit says Sage allegedly invaded his privacy by secretly forwarding his e-mails to others and, by doing so, inflicted emotional distress on him.

At the core of his lawsuit is a claim of breach of “fiduciary duty,” which means Sage, according to Malone, violated the relationship of utmost trust and confidence between the two, and that Sage, who was assigned to manage and protect property and money at the dealership, allegedly violated that trust.

Malone, 53, filed the lawsuit on Jan. 24.

Also named as defendants in the case with Leonard Sage are his brother Joseph Sage, Sage Holdings LLC, which is a California Limited Liability Company, and UCN Partners.

Malone’s lawyer, Jeffrey A. Hacker, said Malone would comment on the case at a later date.

Efforts to contact and speak directly to either Sage or his brother were unsuccessful Tuesday.

However, a third brother, identifying himself as Michael Sage, returned phone calls made by The Signal to various county car dealerships run by the Sage brothers, stating that neither of his brothers would likely talk to the media.

“My brother Lenny is in bed with the flu and I don’t know where Joe is,” Michael Sage said. “I’m pretty sure they’re not going to want to talk.”

A third partner at the Mercedes-Benz dealership on Valencia Boulevard, Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, is not named as either a plaintiff or a defendant in the civil action.

Malone, who was the Dodgers’ GM from September 1998 through April 2001, claims in the lawsuit that Leonard and Joseph Sage used “stolen electronic communication” to obtain an advantage in business disputes as well as “to harass, annoy and attempt to embarrass” him.

He alleges also that the defendants did these things “with malice and with a willful, intentional and wanton evil intent.”
Malone says in his suit that Leonard Sage did these things, in part, because Malone wanted Sage removed as manager of Valencia Partners LLC, the company that bound the three partners together at the local dealership.

A picture of the three members of Valencia Partners LLC on the dealership’s website shows the trio standing together, smiling, at the nose of a Mercedes-Benz.

Malone also served as general manager of the Montreal Expos in 1994.

He met Lenny Sage, he claims, at a Los Angeles Lakers game in April 1999 and formed the Valencia Partners LLC a couple of years later.

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