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Family feud continues over estate left by the founder of Rush Enterprises

W.M “Rusty” Rush III and his stepmother, Barbara Rush, continue to fight in a Texas court over the late W. Marvin Rush II’s estate.

The death of 79-year-old W. Marvin Rush II (known as Marvin) – the founder of Rush Enterprises, one of the largest commercial truck dealership chains in North America – sparked a feud over the company and its assets. Rush Enterprises currently has a market cap of $1.32 billion. 

When Marvin Rush died in May 2018, his death triggered a fight over his estate between his son Rusty and third wife, Barbara. Both Rusty and Barbara filed dueling wills over Marvin’s estate.

Rusty Rush, 61, is the current chairman, current chief executive and president of Rush Enterprises. He began working for his father at the company in 1974. 

The latest court filings on June 17 said that Marvin Rush wanted to keep control over his substantial financial assets when he decided in 1991 to wed for a third time.

“In 1991, Marvin married one of his secretaries, Barbara Mills. He insisted that Barbara sign a Marital Agreement whereby Barbara gave up any rights she might otherwise have, then or in the future, to claim any interest in any of Marvin’s separate property – or what might otherwise be community property – including all of his ‘right title and interests in [Rush Enterprises],’” alleged an amended lawsuit filed in Bexar County district court by Rusty Rush.

According to the amended lawsuit, Rusty Rush alleges his father signed a durable power of attorney in May 2013 that gave Barbara “the right to unilaterally control” her husband’s assets. Marvin Rush never disclosed that to either of his sons, Rusty or Robin, according to the amended lawsuit.

“Had Marvin mentioned this fact, Rusty and Robin might have had some clear warning that their father, who had always been very insistent on keeping his wife out of his business and in retaining total control over his property, was not acting rationally, or with full mental capacity, as such a relinquishment of control by Marvin would never have occurred had Marvin been ‘in his right mind,’” states the amended lawsuit.  

In 2017, Barbara Rush also created the Rush Living Trust and transferred most of Marvin’s assets to it, said the lawsuit. Those assets- valued currently around $44 million- included cash, real estate, automobiles and his Rush Enterprises stock. Barbara Rush and her daughters are the beneficiaries of the trust.

Through her San Antonio attorney, Barbara Rush, 58, denied Rusty Rush’s claims in his amended lawsuit.

Rusty Rush has said his father stated his wishes in a 2006 will. Barbara Rush disputed that claim, saying that Marvin revoked that will when he made a new one in May 2013 and then another in November 2013.

Rusty Rush also contends that neither Barbara Rush nor her lawyers informed him that she had created the Rush Living Trust and that Marvin’s stock had been transferred to the trust “out of Marvin’s name and control.”

Rusty Rush is seeking to recover his father Marvin Rush’s stock and interest in 3MR Partners, which Marvin formed in 1998. Rusty Rush also seeks unspecified punitive damages against Barbara Rush. No trial date has been announced.

Rush Enterprises is based in the small town of New Braunfels, Texas, which is about 32 miles north of San Antonio. The company’s headquarters sits along the busy Interstate 35 corridor. Rush is a commercial truck dealership that was first built around Peterbilt trucks. 

Marvin Rush started the business that ultimately became Rush Enterprises in the Houston area with some other individuals in 1965. Today, Rush is one of the largest commercial dealer/service centers in the United States.

Along with Peterbilt, the company operates a network of dealerships selling commercial vehicles manufactured by International, Hino, Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi Fuso, IC Bus and Blue Bird. The company also offers equipment installation and repair. It serves regional and national truck fleets, corporations, local governments, and owner operators. 

Rush Enterprises (NASDAQ: RUSHA) went public in 1990. As of June 26, the company’s stock was trading at $35.85 a share. Rush Enterprises has a one-year low of $31.53 and a one-year high of $46.22. 

Rush Enterprises last issued its quarterly earnings data on April 24. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.10. The next quarterly earnings report is scheduled for July 23.  

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is the Cross-Border Freight Market Reporter for FreightWaves.com. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1999. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas.

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