By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
PERTH -- A woman is suing her reported gun shop partners for nearly $1 million in damages after she was allegedly eked out of a business relationship at the former Special Arms store on Route 30 in Perth.
Kelly Jones filed a five-count lawsuit at the Montgomery County Clerk's Office in December against Louis Brian Oleson, Mark E. LaViolette and Richard Christiano.
It seeks between $100,000 and $250,000 for each count, alleging breach of contract and malice after the business partners forced her out -- first with threats, she says, then locking her out before closing the store's doors for good in November.
Jones says she met Oleson when she started working at a Rensselaer store named Guns, Inc. In a three year period, Jones says she invested $100,000 there in exchange for what Oleson promised to be 50 percent ownership, but he allegedly never complied.
Instead, Jones agreed to work for Oleson at his store named Special Arms, which he had just moved from Schenectady to Perth, and he co-owned with LaViolette, the complaint says. Oleson persuaded her to accept half ownership of his business known as Flintlock that operated with LaViolette out of Rensselaer, and said it was worth what she had invested in Guns, Inc.
Jones believed she would replace Flintlock as a member of Special Arms that she'd own with LaViolette. But the suit says without Jones' knowledge, LaViolette formed another company named FMJ that took his ownership of Special Arms, and he then sold FMJ to Christiano, while retaining his rights to management.
After that, Jones says things started to fall apart, and she, LaViolette and Christiano "were in a constant state of turmoil, arguing about virtually every business decision needed to properly manage Special Arms," resulting in a deadlock, the complaint reads.
LaViolette and Christiano reportedly refused to add Jones to the business' financial assets, the firearms license, and wrote a letter to the federal agency responsible for administering the license to keep her from being added.
Jones was later accused of stealing money, operating unauthorized bank accounts, and stealing firearms, the suit says.
LaViolette and Christiano sued Jones in April 2011, and threatened if she didn't stay away from the shop, LaViolette would rescind his consent for Special Arms to use his firearms license, which would require the store to close immediately, according to the complaint.
They allegedly changed the locks on the doors, and in an effort to protect her assets, Jones said she stayed away.
A year later, Jones said she drove by the shop and observed a sign that advertised an online gun auction for an inventory reduction, and it was no longer in business.
"At no time prior to [their] decision to close the store did they provide Jones with notice of their decision, call a meeting to discuss their decision, or seek a resolution of the majority members authorizing their decision to sell substantially all assets and discontinue business," the complaint reads.