LOS ANGELES – Walt Disney Co. (DIS) dissident shareholders and ex-directors Roy Disney (search) and Stanley Gold (search) Monday sued the company, claiming it made false statements about its chief executive search to dissuade them from offering an alternate slate of directors.
The lawsuit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, seeks to void the 2005 election of directors and hold new elections, and to force Disney to disclose information about the search that led to the selection of Robert Iger to replace outgoing CEO Michael Eisner (search).
Disney and Gold claim in a statement that the company has ignored their request for books and records documenting the board's search for Eisner's successor.
The suit says that despite the board's promise to conduct the CEO search with "open minds," Disney directors considered only one external candidate,
The lawsuit accused the board of alienating that candidate, reported to be eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman, after they "delayed notifying her of any decision, and (doing) little to dissuade her from withdrawing her candidacy."
Disney and Gold also accused the board of overlooking Iger's role in the Fox Family Channel acquisition, which they claim was based on "overly optimistic" projections.