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Hue Hefner Sued By Playboy Shareholder

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 12, 2010 8:45 AM

As founder of Playboy Magazine, Hue Hefner has been afforded a lavish lifestyle, with a fancy mansion and girlfriends at his side.

But a class action lawsuit filed by a Playboy shareholder may force Hefner to give up the good life.

According to Courthouse News Service, a shareholder alleges that Hefner sabotaged two potential deals in the last six months to sell the company at a decent price, while refusing to give up his extravagant lifestyle.

Plaintiff David Brown owns 177,000 shares of Playboy and filed a class action suit. He claims Hefner, 81, breached his duties and placed his personal interests above the interests of company shareholders.

The complaint claims that potential suitors have offered $300 million to acquire all or parts of Playboy and Hefner rejected them. He has turned down deals with Iconix Brand Management ('Iconix') and Golden Gate Capital ('Golden Gate'), the complaint says.

Furthermore, Hefner insists on playing some role in the company and living at the Playboy mansion until he dies, according to the complaint.

In addition to this lawsuit, Hefner is involved in a web of other legal troubles.

As previously discussed, Playboy Enterprises filed suit against Chicago divorce attorney Corri Fetman over who owns trademark rights to the title "Lawyer of Love."  Playboy's suit follows a sexual harassment suit which Fetman, a former Playboy model and columnist, filed last March.

A share of Playboy stock--worth $36 in 1999--now sells for about $3.

In this case, Brown is demanding punitive damages. Lastly, the plaintiffs also say Hefner runs roughshod over the shareholders and they want unspecified damages.