CLAYTON, Mo. – International Fuel Technology of Clayton has countersued British inventors who claimed the company and principal shareholder Rex Carr cheated them.
International Fuel Technology filed a counterclaim against fuel additive inventors Ian Williamson and Clifford Hazel in St. Louis County circuit court on Sept. 10.
The company's attorney, Joseph Devereux of Clayton, alleged that each inventor owed the company more than $3 million.
Carr, a famous attorney from East St. Louis, separately denied the allegations of the inventors in a Sept. 10 answer to their suit, but he did not file a counterclaim.
In 2001, International Fuel Technology hired Williamson at an annual base salary of $120,000 and issued him 600,000 shares of stock.
The company retained Hazel as a consultant and issued him a million shares.
In return, Williamson and Hazel assigned to the company the rights to their inventions.
They sued International Fuel Technology this June, claiming Carr and others misled them about company finances.
Their attorney, Jack Spooner of Clayton, wrote that Williamson and Hazel incorporated Interfacial Technologies Limited in England and Wales in 2000.
"Interfacial owned certain proprietary technologies which purported to reduce harmful pollutant emissions from certain petroleum based fuels," Spooner wrote.
In 2001, he wrote, International Fuel Technology purchased all Interfacial stock.
International Fuel Technology didn't honor its employment agreement with Williamson or its consulting agreement with Hazel, he wrote.
Spponer claimed the shares were worthless.
He alleged that International Fuel Technology interfered with efforts of his clients to raise capital for business ventures.
He also alleged breach of fiduciary duty, claiming International Fuel Technology filed false documents or no documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to the company's counterclaim, Williamson and Hazel agreed that if they left the company they would not compete against it for three years.
"Counterdefendants learned that, through a technicality, Interfacial Technologies (UK) Limited was dissolved through misadventure and they conspired with one another to acquire certain of said assigned inventions," Devereux wrote.
In 2004, Devereux wrote, they acquired title to the assets from the Treasury Solicitor of the United Kingdom.
By that action they violated the agreement not to compete, he wrote, causing $10 million in damage to the company.
Devereux demanded return of salary and shares from Williamson at a value greater than $3.04 million, and return of shares from Hazel at a value greater than $3 million.
Carr owns more shares of International Fuel Technology than anyone else. He has received some shares in return for legal services.
Last year he loaned the company $1 million and guaranteed a $500,000 loan from another owner.
International Fuel Technology occupies a suite on the 19th floor of 7777 Bonhomme Avenue in Clayton.
At 4 p.m. on Sept. 24, the office door opened but no one responded. A green booklet on a table advised, "Lift your performance."
The booklet stated that International Fuel Technology products improve lubricity, reduce harmful emissions and increase fuel economy by three to seven percent.
It offered two additives for diesel fuel, a third for gasoline, and a fourth for kerosene.
It identified Air Products and Chemicals Inc. as manufacturer of the products.
"Our high volume production capacity enables IFT to meet any level of market demand," it stated.
Circuit Judge David Vincent III presides over the case.