Causes of the Yanson family feud? – 3

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

ASIDE from the news last week that the members of the board of VTI asked Leo Rey to explain the withdrawal of millions of company funds without the authority of the board, there is another story that weighs in on the feud. This never came out in the news but was whispered in mahjong and card tables within the business community. This grapevine spreads news with lightning speed when matters of this nature (money) break out.

I kept this story under lid about two weeks ago since it had not been corroborated despite the credibility of the source. Then a friend, unknowing I already heard the story, told me about it and where the documents are. Then a third source confirmed the story.

The credibility of the persons who told it to me is beyond reproach. However, anybody with a different version can come forward and make the corrections or even deny this never happened. Until then the story stands.

The anomalies mentioned in passing in the news during the early Yanson public quarrel did not involve any of the children (until later which is different), but somebody who did not belong to the family. The person is a top officer of the company but to keep the identity confidential, let me just call this person “Neuter” so we also do not speculate whether this person is a man or a woman. The gender is not important.

The story runs like this. VTI had pre-signed checks and Neuter being a top company officer had access to this large amount of money. Never mind that this practice is an invitation to corruption but there must have been a high level of trust in the way Leo Rey managed the company that checks were signed before it was determined for what they were.

Neuter was not just a trusted person for some years in the company but was said to be exceptionally close to Olivia Yanson. This closeness probably explains this unusual trust. In fact, Neuter stayed in the house of Olivia whenever Neuter was in Bacolod. That explains the level of confidence. Moreover, Olivia reportedly has a trait that is good in that she is loyal to her friends and devoted to her favorites. But like any other good virtue, such traits can be carried to the extreme and some people are tempted to exploit or abuse it.

Neuter allegedly fell into temptation and was asked to explain, but Neuter was a protected employee, allegedly by the matriarch. The board filed a case against Neuter for the unaccounted pre-signed checks, but the charge was later withdrawn. Neuter was offered a way out with benefits as if Neuter had served loyally and well. Did Olivia’s protection influence the board’s decision?

There is something unclear here. If the protected Neuter had been given clemency, should not the family unity have been preserved? On the other hand, is the Neuter case linked to the board’s decision of loss of confidence in Leo Rey and the pre-signed checks? What Neuter did was wrong. Did Leo Rey, as president of the corporation know about it? Or did he have full confidence in Neuter’s incorruptibility as to entrust millions of pre-signed checks to this person? Is it possible that Leo Rey was unaware of this alleged anomaly until it was unmasked? But how could he not know?

If indeed the mother is protective of Neuter who was terminated and Leo Rey who was ousted, then there is logic in her demand that her shares of stocks be returned. If she had her undistributed shares, she would be in total control and nothing she disliked would ever have happened. She could simply outvote all her children. She had, by operation of law one half plus one-seventh of all the shares. But she distributed her shares and she got, from a recent report, nothing of the shares or even an equal part of the boodle with her children. She was thus left helpless to protect Leo Rey.

The action of the Yanson 4 to withdraw support for the continued presidency of Leo Rey is understandable. They had to protect the company not only as an inheritance but as their future as well.

However, Olivia Yanson did not see it that way. She felt rejected by her children and she fought back.

Let’s continue tomorrow.