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Nineteen stockholders in a corporation owning an Oakville-area ballfield have filed a lawsuit seeking dissolution of the entity and alleging that its controllers or board of directors have “been operating in secrecy” and pocketing income from renting out the field.

The complaint against Gents Enterprise Inc. also requests that a court-appointed receiver liquidate its assets and that the board members divulge to the plaintiffs information from the last five years of the corporation’s activity.

“They want an accounting of what assets are held,” Thomas A. McManus, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said before the civil complaint recently was filed in St. Mary’s Circuit Court. “I’m filing on behalf of a number of disgruntled shareholders.”

The corporation’s lawyer denied this month any allegations that funds were used improperly, and he said he expects the matter will be amicably resolved.

Plaintiffs in the case include Donald Moore of Lexington Park, Richard Holly of Lexington Park, John K. Bowman of Indian Head, Thyris Miles of Morganza, Martha Chase of Morganza, Alice T. Ford of Clinton, Theresa Swann of Indian Head, Mary Birdine of Ridge, Sandra T. Simmons of Leonardtown, James R. Holly of Dameron, Brenda Hill of Waldorf, James Levaughn Collins of Hollywood, Janet Moore of Mechanicsville, James T. Somerville of Loveville, Tamathea Hayward of Leonardtown, Lawrence Elam of Lexington Park, Frederick Somerville of California, Mary Agnes Shelton of Leonardtown and Minnie L. Bryan of Ridge.

“The board of directors has been effectively dormant. There have been no shareholders’ meetings for a period in excess of three years, nor ... any elections scheduled by the board of directors for a period in excess of three years,” McManus alleged in the legal complaint.

The ballfield was renamed without the shareholders’ consent, the lawsuit alleges, and the shareholders have not received income or financial statements from the rental of the field to sports and social organizations.

“The Gents Board of Directors, or those who control the corporation, have been operating in secrecy,” the lawsuit alleges. “Some or all of the current board members are using the income generated by the corporate asset to personally enrich themselves to the detriment of the shareholders.”

Roger J. Myerberg, the corporation’s attorney in the matter, said this month, “The board of directors’ actions were always consistent with the interests of the corporation and its shareholders. I’m sure that the parties will be able to sit down with their attorneys ,... answer any questions, resolve any differences and bring this matter to an amicable resolution.”

The board members were not identified in the complaint.

The civil filing makes no reference to a nightclub formerly known as Jolly Gents, which the civic group rented out to new tenants using a new name for the business about four years ago.

jwharton@somdnews.com