The second of two parts
Billionaire Robert Miller is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.
There are no more than half a dozen known photos of the Montreal impresario, and for decades, his penchant for privacy has bordered on reclusive. Despite overseeing a company worth $5 billion, he has given few interviews.
No doubt, the 80-year-old founder of Future Electronics is finding the current spotlight being shone upon his alleged sexual proclivities deeply upsetting.
Miller is the subject of a class-action lawsuit that is seeking in the vicinity of $200 million on behalf of 39 women who claim he sexually exploited them when nearly all were underage. The youngest alleged victim claimed she was only 11 when she started having sex with the mogul.
The billionaire is denying any wrongdoing, and his lawyer told Radio-Canada in March that he is in ill-health, suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
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Miller was born in Montreal in 1943 and attended university in the U.S. where he put himself through school as a DJ and as a snack bar counterman.
He founded Future Electronics in 1968 and the explosion of home computers transformed the company into a massive success and made Miller a billionaire. The company eventually became the world’s third-largest electronics distributor.
Miller gave a rare interview to Diane Francis for a 2007 tome on Canadian business titans. And even then, the interview was less than illuminating.
But he only really hit the headlines when he and his ex-wife, Margaret Antonier, divorced in 2006, after 37 years of marriage. The couple have two sons.
Miller accused his wife — a former radio ad saleswoman who’s now a Florida real estate developer — of having a torrid sexual affair with a former Fortune CFO named Robert Roop. He also claimed she pilfered $10 million from their Sunshine State real estate venture.
It was, however, his ex-wife who fired the most potent marital missiles.
In Florida court records, Antonier’s legal eagles alleged that Miller was responsible for “horrible wrongdoings” and “wrongful acts.”
Her lawyers charged they split because of “activities of Mr. Miller that are so offensive that he has insisted that the [divorce] proceedings [in Montreal] be sealed.”
The alleged wrongdoing has been sealed by Florida courts. Antonier’s lawyers slammed the theft and fraud allegations against her as “brazen and false.”
Miller told Francis that the split was “amicable.” But the battle over what at the time amounted to a $2-billion fortune was typically bitter.
There have been a number of claims and counterclaims between the two over the ensuing years. It is unclear whether they were resolved.
That might be best for another life. Apparently, the mogul also has a deep interest in cryonics.
From a 2010 QMI story: “He reportedly supports the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an Arizona-based organization which promotes cryonics, the science of freezing bodies — it then stores them in special aluminum containers — with the intent to restore life when technology is available.”
An aide told The Wall Street Journal that the billionaire was even creating “a revival trust.” According to QMI, the “trust” is a legal means to keep himself and his piles of dough preserved and frozen until tech becomes available to resurrect him.
Future was tentatively sold to a Taiwanese company in September for a reported $5 billion. However, the deal is not expected to go through until 2024.
Last week, four new names were added to the class action lawsuit. The affidavits are chillingly similar.
One of the alleged victims claimed she was just 11 when she was recruited for sex, given booze and blow and then, expected to have sex with Miller. Her reward, she said, was an envelope full of cash and other gifts.
Miller is now getting the attention he has avoided his entire adult life.