CHESTERFIELD — Local builder McBride Homes has reached a $16.5 million settlement with more than 200 former members of its employee ownership program.

A lawsuit filed in 2018 accused the Chesterfield-based home builders and the employee ownership trustee of an elaborate plan that restructured the company, awarded shares to executives — including CEO John F. Eilermann Jr. and former Chief Financial Officer Michael Arri — diluted employee ownership, and then bought out employees for below market value.

Attorneys for McBride argued they acted in the best interest of all the employees and that shares were purchased for fair value.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Illinois, the home state of GreatBanc, the trustee, gave initial approval to the settlement, which will reimburse employee shareholders based on their stock in the company. Most of the 207 members were scheduled to receive between $1,000 and $50,000 each. Eight would receive $250,000 or more each, according to court documents.

McBride Homes has built more than 35,000 new houses primarily in St. Louis and St. Charles counties in its 75 years in business, according to the company’s website.

The company and an attorney for the employees both declined to comment.



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