consultants are sandburs

Friday, October 31, 2008

Norm Coleman, Laurie Coleman's ostensible job, Naser Kazeminy and $75,000 (beyond any Nieman Marcus suits), and a lawsuit bridging stuff together.

This will be a bit disjointed and episodic. But court papers will be allowed to speak for themselves instead of telling you about them, what they say, what they mean. I will voice opinions and tie in other things, but basically, there are allegations within a verified petition [seeking appointment of a receiver to manage a company allegedly mismanaged as an alter ego ("treated as a personal bank account") of Norm Coleman's crony and benefactor, Nasser Kazeminy]. A verified petition means one sworn to under penalty of perjury by the signing complaining individual, a Mr. Paul McKim.

First, here is a picture of a glass house, in the context of an old saying as well as being an attractive photo.

Now here are statements of Norm Coleman, expressing his ethical standards about how others in the Senate should behave and the standards of conduct others should be held to, first, from August 2007, here:

• Arizona Sen. John McCain, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra and others said Craig should resign.

• In a joint statement, top Senate GOP leaders said they were stripping Craig of his committee assignments while the matter is being investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee.

• A spokesman for President Bush described the administration as "disappointed" by the Craig controversy. "We hope it will be resolved quickly," White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said.

In Boise, Craig spokesman Sidney Smith told the Associated Press he has heard no discussion of a possible resignation. On Tuesday, Craig told reporters it would be weeks before he announces whether he will seek a fourth Senate term next year.

Some Republicans don't think he should wait that long.

"Senator Craig pled guilty to a crime involving conduct unbecoming a senator. He should resign," said Coleman, one of 21 Republicans whose Senate seat the party will defend next year.

Next there is this from STRIB, Coleman on clean hands, and on ethical standards applicable to a Senator's taking of undisclosed gifts:

Sen. Coleman: Stevens should resign
Last update: October 28, 2008 - 9:13 PM

In the wake of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' conviction on ethics violations, Sen. Norm Coleman called Tuesday for his Republican colleague to resign.

After Stevens was charged in July, Coleman donated $20,000 in campaign contributions that had come from Stevens' political action committee. Coleman, who gave the money to childhood cancer research, joined other Republican senators who were returning contributions from the Alaska senator.

On Tuesday, DFL Party chair Brian Melendez called on Coleman to return $14,000 in campaign funds that he said the senator had received from Stevens and discredited oil executives in the 2002 election but not yet returned.

Coleman campaign officials said the money was spent years ago and won't be turned back.

Finally, in the sequence there is a third item, from here, as always click to enlarge and read about Sen. Norman Coleman's history of making allegations of wrongdoing by others.

See the above picture of the glass house.

Next, since the suit is about Norm Coleman and Laurie Coleman and alleged gifts from Nasser Kazeminy, and we all know what Norm and Laurie Coleman look like, here is what Nasser Kazeminy looks like, (pic. is from here via here):

Actually, it is a picture of Nasser Kazeminy, and spouse, with Elliot Spitzer, and spouse. Without prodding from Norm Coleman, Spitzer did resign when his call-girl usage records surfaced. He did not wait for lengthy court proceedings to wend their way to completion. He bit the bullet, owned up to what he'd done, admitted his wrong-doing, and did the noble thing - stepping down. In doing so, Spitzer did not lash out against or blame any political opponent.

But that was New York's Eliot Spitzer. We are talking about Minnesota's [and New York's via Brooklyn and Hofstra] Norman Coleman, expert on when others should resign, and there are different strokes for different folks, e.g., reporting here:

Coleman Blasts Franken For "sleazy" Reports On Wife
By Glenn Thrush
Oct 31, 2008

(The Politico) Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is accusing a Texas executive who claims he paid the senator's wife $75,000 of defaming his family -- and for the first time suggested his opponent Al Franken might be behind the allegations.

"Each and every allegation in this lawsuit relating to me and my wife is false and defamatory," Coleman said in a statement.

Paul McKim, former CEO of the Houston-based oil-rig servicing company Deep Marine Technology, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging Coleman supporter Nasser Kazeminy, who owns a stake in the firm, funneled cash to an insurance company employed by Laurie Coleman.

"She has not received one dime from the company that was involved in this lawsuit – she was not the producer on the account – she was not responsible for this transaction in anyway," Coleman said.

"My wife has been devastated by this. She turns on her computer and reads on the blogs the most vicious attacks, impugning her integrity and trying to destroy her ability to do her job. She's angry-- and she has a right to be -- and so am I."

Coleman, who held a defiant press conference in Minnesota earlier today, called on "Al Franken and his allies to end their vicious 11th hour political attacks against his wife and his family... If Minnesotans want to know what kind of Senator Al Franken would be – watch his campaign this last week – see how he has attacked my family – my wife – and my reputation."

Franken's campaign didn't immediately comment.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has poured millions into the race, has blasted reports about the case to reporters since details of the story broke yesterday.

The Brooklyn-born former Democrat said the allegations against his wife had been floated before the suit was even filed and "delivered in Minnesota in an unmarked envelope to two Minneapolis Star Tribune reporters.

See the above picture of the glass house.

Self-righeous outrage, with no willingness to get to and answer to the facts. Earlier the man, Kazeminy, when flying Coleman and family members to vacationing spots was "a friend with a plane" end of story. No detail. Reporting is that an offshore oil drilling venture owned/controlled by Coleman's crony Kazeminy routed money improperly to the Colemans. The firm, Deep Marine Technology, Inc., on its website, here and here, defines itself:

Since 2002, Deep Marine Technology has been providing comprehensive subsea services to the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry. Far surpassing its modest beginnings as a Direct Operated Vehicle contractor, DMT has quickly grown to become a significant player in the Gulf of Mexico and now includes:

Deepwater Construction Group
Commercial Diving Group
DOV Group
Intervention Systems Group

A US Company located in Houston, TX, DMT is bringing to the market, assets and subsea assistance that will benefit its Clients by providing a fresh approach to the complexities facing today’s deepwater Oil and Gas Companies.

Deep Marine Technology, Inc. is a subsea construction services provider to the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry located in Houston, TX.

The allegations basically are that Kazeminy money, via this DMT venture was routed to Laurie and Norm Coleman via Laurie's purported employment by Hays Companies, a situation already posted about in some detail on Crabgrass based on limited Coleman disclosure of the purported employment, per a scant single line entry from a Senate disclosure form Coleman signed, without stating dates or amounts of "salary" that Laurie Coleman "earned"), see post, here.

To summarize, Hayes Companies is an insurance brokerage and underwriting boutique, and does loss-risk consulting, primarily from its headquarters in St. Paul, MN.

Besides having his "friendship" with Kazeminy (who as noted is a player in oil and gas services), here is a picture of Coleman chumming around with another man having ties to the oil and gas services industry, the former boss of Halliburton, talking intently about what? Bringing hockey back to Minnesota? Oil and gas services? Coleman's nice suits?

Based on the McKim lawsuit and pictures like that, immediate political questions come to mind. How has Coleman been on oil and gas issues, especially deep water offshore issues? With Cuba claiming 20 bn barrels of offshore oil, how has Coleman been on normalizing economic relations with Cuba? What has he said and advocated about Chavez in Venezuela, or immigration and NAFTA relations with Mexico? Venezuela and Mexico have extensive offshore reserves, presently being exploited. How is Coleman on tax policy for oil and gas exploration and related services? On Katrina related FEMA aid for the Gulf oil and gas industry? Has he been indifferent to the plight of New Orleans and Mississippi residents, but quick to push for aid to oil-gas ventures? With DMT doing worldwide business, are there any tax or trade policy positions that Coleman has taken that would favor DMT's international lines of business? So far, both the press and Coleman have been silent on such concerns - in effect, is there an appearance of legislative log-rolling in return for "friendship" in all its aspects?

Much credit is due to Big E at MnBlue, for defining relevant dots, and cogently connecting them in much detail. Here, read all of it to be an informed voter. It puts Norm's oil and gas position out front, and this lawsuit demonstrates possible quid pro quo reasons he might feel that way - "friendship" in all its aspects. (It even comes with opening links to mainstream media reporting, from Strib here, and to "Norm speak" a clear digression, but one well worth the time to read it.)

The Strib item, again, here, is an op ed authored by Sen. Norm Coleman, himself, and as fitting a "friendship" with "a man with a plane" who also is into oil and gas deepwater drilling as a for-profit business, our esteemed Senator opines:

We have remarkable domestic oil and natural-gas resources, but unfortunately, much of it is off-limits. Just consider that 85 percent of offshore acreage is currently not available for development. If we developed the entire Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), we could see an additional 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- a significant amount that would make a real dent in our dependence on Mideast oil.

As a means to passing a comprehensive energy bill, my amendment to open access to the OCS while ramping up research on battery technology for plug-in-hybrid vehicles was offered as a compromise. Not only did Democratic leaders block a vote on my amendment, but they went so far as to object to drilling even if gas were to reach $10 a gallon. How high do prices have to get before producing more becomes a viable option?

Over the last few months, we moved quickly to deal with the effects of the downturn in the economy and housing crisis. How can we allow the energy debate to be bogged down in partisan bickering? I know the objections of Majority Leader Harry Reid do not represent the views of all Democrats -- there are many on the other side of the aisle who do want to utilize America's resources and innovative potential toward a multifaceted solution that includes increasing supply. And most Republicans, likewise, understand that compromises are going to need to be made, for example, by keeping the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off the table and making sure we invest in conservation. This spirit of compromise is what allowed us, Republicans and Democrats, to work together to pass the energy bills of 2005 and 2007 -- shouldn't $4 gas make us more, not less, willing to bring all good ideas to the table?

So he wants to push hell-bent forward on the "OCS" where deepwater drilling and other services apply, but stay the course in ANWR, where Nasser's boats don't go because it's the middle of Alaskan wilderness. But there probably are multiple reasons for a policy position, and I am sure the Senator would caution us against jumping to any hasty conclusions.

And were we to go that route, the Coleman-oped route, coincidentally, it might mean bucks for Nasser Kameniny, which although the Coleman op-ed omits mention of that, is something that presumably Coleman would not oppose as in any way improper or out of the ordinary.

He is an interesting man, isn't he?

"Innovative" and "multifaceted" were his words - for his Nasser-friendly amendment that the mean old Democrat, the Luddite, Harry Reid, could look at and yet fail to see innovative benefits with multifaceted aspects. Reid's fault, not Coleman's, and what did result from the Senate workover of the Paulson Treasury Department's seven hundred billion bailout bill - offshore development concessions, added during Senate review between initial House rejection and final passage, as I recall.

Curious, indeed.

Coleman has campaigned characterizing himself as effective at getting things done.

Not only that, read more, Norm Coleman is expert in "sleazy politics," he says, claiming to be the target of such things, (never a perpetrator - reminding one of Gilbert and Sullivan "What never? Hardly ever," operetta lyrics).

Weigh this: Coleman plays up the indignant denial routine, but has shown no willingness to voluntarily disclose publicly Hays Companies pay records for Laurie Coleman which might fit or refute the timing patterns of three $25,000 installment payments the suit alleges.

While indignant, Coleman has seemed equally uninterested in producing or pushing to have publicly produced Hays Companies' insurance records showing whether there was actually any bona fide business relationship between Hays Companies and Kazeminy Gulf Coast businesses.

Here is a screenshot of the opening part of Strib's opening report of the McKim claims (Coleman in a plaid shirt, not a Nieman Marcus suit, perhaps because of earlier blogsphere and mainstream reporting claiming Kazeminy bought Coleman's expensive suits for him):

Interestingly, Strib in that report, (since updated with a different opening photo, same plaid shirt) notes that upon filing of the suit a fast hush-up was attempted but negotiations fell apart:

He [Coleman] said he believes Minnesotans will "see it for what it is -- sleazy politics -- and reject it out of hand."

"If my opponents have any shred of decency left in this campaign -- stop attacking my family," the statement said.

The company, Deep Marine Technology, is controlled by Kazeminy, a close friend of Coleman's and a longtime campaign contributor.

The allegations about Coleman were among the claims in the suit over corporate practices filed Monday by Deep Marine's former CEO, Paul McKim, who founded the company in 2001. The suit was withdrawn later Monday during a flurry of settlement negotiations but was refiled Thursday after those talks failed, said Casey Wallace, a lawyer for McKim. Robert Weinstine, listed in the lawsuit as Kazeminy's Minneapolis attorney, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Bruce Gilman, chairman and interim CEO of Deep Marine, said today that the firm is investigating the allegations with the assistance of an outside law firm. "To date, we have not found any evidence of wrongdoing,'' Gilman said in a news release. "However, due to the nature of the ongoing investigation we cannot comment further at this time."

Next, screenshots from the McKim court filing are presented. All litigation images are from the Adobe pdf document STRIB posted online, here. As always, click to enlarge.

The crux of the claims related to the Colemans are here, p.10 - 13 of the 36 page item, with p.8 for context, presenting the claim of improper payments complete with an alleged in-company cover-up attempt:

Exhibits are interesting, p.29, et seq., with p.29 purporting to be a $100,000 service fee arrangement between Kazeminy's DMH/DMT operations and Hays Companies, for fees incident to and not separate from a contract for insurance coverage:

It should be a slam dunk, either there is a policy and legitimate paper trail, or not, and if not then it's party over for the arrangement and all that remains is follow the money to see what was disbursed when to the Coleman spouses by Hays Companies. So, a valid insurance contract situation is key, (see the screenshot of p.12, in particular, re this question and for a context to the p.29 exhibit). Then there is this 2 page "Exhibit G" at the end of the court filing, and with this many players besides the plaintiff, if there's to be stonewalling it gets hard to keep a stonewall intact. Somebody along the way knows things and testifies truthfully at deposition - as with Enron. But all that will be after our election.

Here is the Exhibit E offered to show the cover-up attempt alleged at p.13 of the complaint, just before alleging Nasser Kazeminy used the firm's funds to pay money to his relatives.

Our concern, as now informed voters, what do we do election day when looking at the Franken, Barkley, and Coleman choice for United States Senator from the great State of Minnesota - who's best, is there cause to doubt the incumbent and favor others? That is the immediate question.

If you read the McKim court filing carefully, there are a number of places and gaps that suggest themselves as key facts to be pinned down with certainty on which to hang a cogent refutation, if actual facts allow it. Instead, what do we see? Fulminating and outrage - and categorical denial. It is reminescent of Sen. Stevens of Alaska who was decisively convicted of the crime of accepting unreported gifts, on a record, but publicly denied things and yet never presented the press and public a cogent paper trail to back up the denials - because the actual paper trail led to a conviction and punishment.

So, is it all a baseless attack suit, filed by McKim and timed to harm Coleman election chances? Consider how this opening McKim salvo sounds more like politics than language normally found within opening litigation papers:

From Abscam to Adelphia, for many years American principles of corporate governance have been disregarded in the name of "might makes right." And from Pete Williams to David Durenberger, political alchemy involving business, power and money has proven not to be so rare. But rare is the occasion when a person, such as Sherron Watkins at Enron, stands up against oppression and wrongdoing. Where Deep Marine Holdings, Inc. ("DMH") and Deep Marine Technologies, Incorporated ("DMT") are concerned, Paul McKim is that person. Mr. McKim has consistently stood up against the wrongful acts of those in control of DMH and DMT when they acted in a manner that was illegal, oppressive or fraudulent, and resulted in the corporate assets of DMH and DMT being misapplied or wasted.

It's almost as if that p.2 of the court papers gets polemical about things pro-American and anti-American. (But that's a different political football, outside the Senate race.)

BOTTOM LINE: Surely, the criminal law always applies a standard of innocent until proven guilty. That, however, has nothing to do with voters making a ballot choice over who they'd rather trust prior to allegations going to trial.

And while hard to tell in a small picture, Norm surely looks to be wearing a nice suit.

Say goodbye, Norm.

CHANGE is a theme for this election cycle.

See further and/or newer coverage, all worth reading: here (highlighting the vagaries of the word "responsible"), here (for what it does not say, for not releasing pay records, for the vague word "responsible"), here, here, here (for months earlier showing Coleman vigorously promoting things that, coincidentally perhaps, were in the best fiscal interests of his pal, Kazeminy),and here (PiPress' top people, weighing in).

What's worth emphasis, although it seems obvious to me, the notion of Hays Companies in this - ostensibly hiring Laurie Coleman because she was of value to them, other than being spouse of an influential U.S. Senator and hence a conduit for access and other things - the pay records are the proof. What other things had she done to earn anything? Who for? And most importantly, these Nasser Kazeminy alter ego firm payments, of which there seems little doubt that three were made, one curtailed because of dispute in the firm, each in an amount of $25,000 - what can Hays Companies justify them as being for, and what fee split do the Hays books show between the company and Coleman. If it all got flowed through to Coleman, contrary to regular practice in the trade, the evidence would speak for itself, loudly in terms of false payment of gift amounts, but disguised for unjustifiable reasons.

It is strange how the blogs and press are taking the Norm Coleman "bait" and speculating, is the Franken campaign complicit in this disclosure happening timed as it is, and did Strib have some unique "notice" of issues by some unusual means?


The question, the only question, was Norm Coleman bought and paid for?

Everything else is diversion and digression, as Norm Coleman would like to spin things without getting to facts and paper trail.

What does that tell any sane person about the likelihoods, not having Hays Companies and Coleman and Kazeminy coming forward with documentation disputing the appearance of a U.S. Senator being bought and paid - remember the "energy" proposals coming from the Coleman office - drill offshore, including deepwater drilling, "exploit" the outer continental shelf, but leave ANWR alone - where friend Kazeminy's deepwater boats and expertise was inapplicable so that Kazeminy gets no slice of the ANWR pie.

Coleman simply needs to stop the indignation and do one simple thing - tell the truth and back it up with a real paper trail. The longer he waits the greater the chance an after-the-fact trail is being currently constructed for presentation. The greater is the chance of deceit the longer the man waits.

That is all that counts, not indignation, not blaming Franken without a shred of evidence that way, not blaming Strib for a conspiracy to derail him, but stand up with books and papers, and explain them after people have a chance to see what they say.

So far, only the papers appended to the refiled suit are public. They are unsupportive of Coleman. They make it look as if he took a bribe.

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