President Donald Trump's postmaster general allegedly forged his brother's signature to force him out of the family business built by their father.
Court documents obtained by the Guardian show Louis DeJoy allegedly set up joint bank accounts by forging his brother Dominick's signature and then forced him to sign away his ownership in New Breed, which had been founded by their father as a trucking company in 1968.
Dominick DeJoy Sr. suffered a debilitating injury in 1977, and he passed control of the company to his namesake son and younger son Michael, while Louis remained in college studying to be an accountant.
Dominick Jr. did not go to college and instead took over New Breed after graduating from high school, while Louis served as the company's chief financial adviser after graduating the following year and becoming a certified public accountant.
A person familiar with the situation said Louis was the "brains" of the company, but Dominick had built up the logistics side of New Breed, which resulted in millions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. Postal Service over the years.
The three brothers then reincorporated the company with Louis as president and each brother owning a third of New Breed, which they expanded nationwide from the New York area, but a lawsuit filed by Dominick Jr. complained that his two brothers engaged in a scheme to take away his share of the family business.
“Dominick spent years building out the logistics side, and then once we rolled out all those sites, it was like we didn’t need him any more,” said the person familiar with the family business. “He was gone pretty soon after that.”
Michael set up holding companies that did business with New Breed's clients, and while Louis promised Dominick that he would get a third of those proceeds, the suit claims he never got any.
Dominick finally caught onto their scheme, the complaint says, after Louis again reorganized the company in 1998 that cut his one-third share by more than half.
He discovered a year later that his older brother had set up multiple bank accounts in his name using a forged signature, according to the suit, and then Louis deposited Dominick's earnings into those accounts and either spent the money on himself or poured it back into New Breed.
Dominick sued his older brother, who then had New Breed sue his younger brother on his behalf and demanded Dominick drop his lawsuit.
The cases were consolidated later that year in a state business court, and the brothers reached a confidential settlement in 2001 -- and Dominick has not spoken to either brother since.
“I think in the end Dominick wanted to cash out, and Louis was happy for him to cash out, they were just arguing over the price,” said another person familiar with the situation.
Louis became the controlling shareholder after Dominick was forced out, and he got the vast majority of the payout when he sold New Breed to XPO Logistics more than a decade later.
It's not clear whether his younger Michael got any money from that deal, which allowed Louis to become a major Republican Party donor.