Gateway Classic Cars has filed suit against its former vice president and director of sales, alleging they stole significant amounts of money from the company in order to start their own business.

In its complaint, Gateway alleges defendant Donna J. Robbins, who was working as its vice president, and defendant Robert M. Mueller, who was acting as director of sales, stole more than $75,000 and six cars from the company.

Gateway alleges it allowed Robbins authorization to write checks on behalf of the company and to transfer the ownership of vehicles.

However, in violation of her duties, Robbins allegedly took advantage of her position and "did convert sizable sums of money, chattels and valuable information to her personal use and benefit and has further adopted and used and is continuing to use without plaintiff's permission such valuable property for the benefit of herself and codefendant herein to finance, to further, and to promote for profit to her and the codefendant in an independent business venture established without the knowledge or consent of plaintiff and discovered by plaintiff only subsequent to defendant, Donna Robbins, employment having been terminated," according to the complaint filed May 21 in Madison County Circuit Court.

To start their own business, Robbins and Mueller took $75,000 from Gateway and also transferred the title of six vehicles to Robbins. The vehicles Robbins took included a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1972 Pontiac Grandville, a 1965 Chevrolet Malibu, a 1996 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro and a 1956 Chrysler Windsor, the suit states. In addition, they took private company research and development information, the complaint says.

Because of Robbins's and Mueller's actions, Gateway claims it has been seriously injured in that its assets have been diluted and its market value has been diminished.

In its complaint, Gateway seeks a return of the $75,000, all property and the confidential business information it says Robbins and Mueller took. It also seeks the salary it claims to have paid them when they were working outside the scope of their duties and costs.

John W. Leskera of The Leskera Law Firm in Collinsville and Justin B. Mattea of The Mattea Law Firm in Collinsville will be representing it.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-712.

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