Lakeland Businessman Suing Canadian Company Over Breach of Contract, Theft

Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 10:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 10:53 p.m.

LAKELAND | No, Canada!

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Ken Richardson claims he was cheated out of more than $100,000 in a Canada-based company named Route1.

CALVIN KNIGHT | THE LEDGER

A Lakeland businessman says an Ontario-based high-tech company has taken him for a $100,000 ride.

Ken Richardson, 57, a former Polk County commissioner, has been wrangling with Route1 in Toronto since 2008.

In late October, he sued the company in Bartow-based 10th Circuit Court, charging he is the victim of grand theft, fraud, breach of contract and deceptive and unfair trade practices.

State Attorney Jerry Hill said Richardson's problems illustrate some of the dangers involved when doing business with foreign companies.

"You assume some risks when you deal with folks in a different jurisdiction," he said.

What's happened to Richardson may be criminal or may be cause of a civil case, Hill said.

"There's no question that the man was clearly wronged," he said. "But we do not have jurisdiction."

Repeated phone messages left by The Ledger this week for Route1 CEO Tony Busseri and President Brian Brunetti were not returned.