A fistfight erupted at a recent U-Haul stockholders' meeting, punctuating a bitter family struggle over control of the rental empire.
Witnesses said the fight Saturday involved four sons of U-Haul founder Leonard Shoen, 73.Shoen, who has sought to regain control of the company since he was forced into retirement in 1986, appeared visibly shaken by the brawl. "I created a monster," he said.
Two of the sons involved in the fight, Mike and Sam, support their father's position in the ownership struggle, while the other two, current board Chairman Joe and Mark, oppose it.
Two other sons, Paul and James, also sit on the six-member board of directors, which was re-elected Saturday. They were not involved in the fisticuffs.
Hotel security guards quickly responded to the fight and broke it up.
Sam Shoen, who was forced to hold an ice pack to his cheek afterward, said the fight occurred after the stockholders' meeting adjourned.
"They ran it (meeting) in the most high-handed possible fashion even though they knew they had the votes they needed to win," Sam said. "They were not willing to allow discussion on anything."
Joe and his supporters declined comment Saturday, but issued a news release pledging a back-to-basics approach in the company's five-year management plan.
The plan calls for an all-new truck fleet, discontinuation of unprofitable operations, liquidation of unused assets and an employee profit-sharing plan.
The elder Shoen contended the company has been devalued under Joe's leadership and no longer adheres to its founding principle of customer satisfaction.
After Saturday's meeting, he said the only way to defuse the situation is to sell the company.