Harbor Freight battle is a father-son feud for the ages
During the past 15 years, a tool and hardware distributor in Camarillo called Central Purchasing exploded into one of the largest private companies in the Tri-Counties as it exploited new sales channels online, in broadcast media and at 300 retail stores.
But as the company, known today as Harbor Freight Tools, saw its revenue soar past the $1 billion mark, trouble was brewing in the executive suite. A father-son power struggle of epic proportions was under way — and it would spill out into the public eye on Bastille Day of this year.
That’s when attorneys for founder Allan E. Smidt and his wife Dorothy filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that their son Eric, now the CEO, misappropriated assets, broke his promises and financially abused his elderly parents.