Dallas tax firm Ryan sues USA Today owner for defamation, refusing to pay costs

Dallas consulting firm Ryan is suing one of the nation’s largest media companies, claiming it refused to pay fees for tax services and defamed the company in reports published in USA today.

Ryan sued Gannett, the owner of USA today, in a district court in Montgomery County, Texas on Tuesday. His lawsuit alleges that Gannett refuses to pay Ryan “hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax savings” as costs for helping him save more than $2 million in taxes.

Gannett’s director of communications, Lark-Marie Anton, declined to comment on the lawsuit. She said Gannett and USA today are no longer Ryan’s customers.

The lawsuit said USA today defamed the company in numerous “articles, podcasts, tweets, and other false communications,” one of which was a July 2021 investigative article about the relationship between Ryan founder and CEO G. Brint Ryan and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. The lawsuit alleges that USA today falsely accused “Ryan…of illegal and unethical business practices in his efforts to secure legitimate tax savings for his clients”.

The USA today The story also failed to reveal her relationship with Ryan’s company to its readers, according to the lawsuit. Ryan said he sought “corrections, retractions and other remedies” over the past eight months before proceeding. He is asking for more than a million dollars in damages.

“We could not sit idly by and allow a major news agency to misrepresent our business,” G. Brint Ryan said in a statement. “We are exceptionally proud of the legitimate tax savings we have achieved for our global customers, including USA todayGannett’s parent company.

Ryan has long been an active political donor in Texas.

Ryan LLC leads a political action committee that has donated nearly $258,000 to Republicans over the past four election cycles, according to Open Secrets. The PAC also donated $32,500 to Democrats during this time.

From 2000 to 2014, Brint Ryan donated more than $5 million to campaigns, according to a 2014 The Dallas Morning News article, and he served as finance chairman for three super PACs that raised nearly $17 million for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s failed presidential run in 2016. In April 2020, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named Ryan chairman of a business task force designed to stimulate the Texas economy once businesses could reopen. He supported former President Donald Trump in 2016 and sponsored an event at the University of North Texas that hosted Donald Trump Jr. in 2017.

Ryan, which generated an estimated $630 million in revenue in 2020, describes itself as the largest company devoted exclusively to business taxes. It has more than 18,000 customers in 60 countries and employs 3,500 people.

Last month, the company sold a “significant minority stake” to one of Wall Street’s largest investment firms, Ares Management Corp. The undisclosed investment amount brings Ryan’s valuation to $2.5 billion, according to a joint statement from Ryan and Onex Corp. ., a former investor in the company.

The companies did not say whether the management team of Ryan, Onex or Ares owns the majority stake. The transaction with Ares, which had $325 billion in assets under management as of March 31, is expected to close later this year. Toronto-based Onex spent $317 million in 2018 to buy a 42% stake in Ryan, which the company said gave it a valuation of $1.1 billion at the time.

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