'Rich Dad Poor Dad' co-authors settle lawsuit

Sept. 3, 2008
The Arizona Republic

The Valley co-authors of the popular Rich Dad Poor Dad financial series officially are going their separate ways.

Robert Kiyosaki, the corporate face behind the books, on Wednesday paid an undisclosed sum to settle a lawsuit with Sharon Lechter, who had sued her former partner and his wife.

Financial terms were not disclosed and Lechter has sold all of her interests in the Rich Dad Co. to the Kiyosakis.

“This settlement allows us to focus on growing the company well beyond where it is today,” Robert Kiyosaki said in a statement. “The Rich Dad team is dedicated to bringing financial education to people throughout the world.”

Sharon LechterLechter, who was attending the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., said she was looking forward to writing about financial literacy for families and children on her own.

“I am very pleased with the settlement,” Lechter said. “The last 10 to 11 years were a great time of building a company, and I wish all of us great success in the future.”

Lechter had alleged the Kiyosakis had enriched themselves, diverted assets and wasted money in a business that she claimed to have helped build from scratch. Lechter also had claimed she “often rewrote large sections” of books she and Robert Kiyosaki co-authored.

The Kiyosakis denied the allegations and said if Lechter has been “damaged,” it was caused by her own actions.

Success from the original book catapulted their joint venture, commonly known as the Rich Dad Co., into a multimillion-dollar operation with offices in Scottsdale. The company, founded in 1997, now offers more than 25 financial books that have been translated into 51 different languages in more than 107 countries. The key objective is to achieve wealth.

Lechter, a certified public accountant who lives in Paradise Valley, had wanted a judge to dissolve the joint venture, appoint a receiver and have the Kiyosakis pay compensatory and punitive damages. She left the company last year and legal fighting followed in Clark County District Court in Nevada, where the company is headquartered. A trial was scheduled for Dec. 29.

“It’s good to have it behind us,” Kim Kiyosaki, Robert’s spouse and company co-founder, said in a phone interview. “It truly has gotten our company more focused in what we want to do. There has been some good to come out of it, given all the negativity and angst in a lawsuit.”