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WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - A shareholder of Bible.com Inc sued the company's board members, accusing the ordained ministers of failing to profit from the "goldmine" potential of the namesake Internet property, according to a lawsuit.
James Solakian filed the lawsuit in Delaware's Chancery Court against the board of Bible.com for breaching their duty by refusing to sell the site or run the company in a profitable way.
The lawsuit cites a valuation done by a potential purchaser that estimated bible.com could be worth more than dictionary.com, which recently sold for more than $100 million.
The domain name was registered by Roy Spencer "Bud" Miller, an Arizona minister who secured it in 1996 for $50. Soon after, he was offered $100,000 for the location, according to court documents.
Miller refused, stating he was entrusted to run the site for a sacred purpose, according to court documents.
Miller, along with his wife Betty, brought in a marketing firm to help them develop the site. They raised money by forming Bible.com Inc and issuing stock.
The company's business plan stated "it is the goal of the board of directors of Bible.com to become very, very profitable," according to court documents. The business was also to be governed in accordance with Christian business principles.
Solakian acquired 28 percent of the company's equity in 2001 as part of a way of settling a $400,000 business debt.
That set off a battle for control of the company and the board decided to suspend development of the site until resolving the problem of Solakian's involvement.
Bible.com currently features a crowded mix of advertisements as well as a verse of the day -- "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong" -- and offers links for Biblical answers to questions on voting and masturbation.
Betty Miller declined to comment because she said she had not seen the lawsuit.
The case is James R Solakian v Roy Spencer Miller, Betty Miller, Andrew Miller, Stacy Fornara, Edward Cude and Michael Magnant and Bible.com Inc, Delaware Chancery Court, No. 5911.
Reporting by Tom Hals; Editing by Gary Hill