By Dave Orrick
Deep Marine Technologies says its own investigation has debunked the notion that a friend and benefactor of former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman tried to steer $100,000 to him via his wife’s employer.
“The Special Litigation Committee has determined that all the allegations … are without merit,” said Bruce Gilman, CEO of Deep Marine Technology.
Bloomington financier Nasser Kazeminy, a close friend of Coleman who has donated to his campaigns and paid for private trips he has taken, is a major shareholder in the company.
In the fall, two lawsuits, including one by Deep Marine’s former CEO, alleged Kazeminy tried to funnel $100,000 to Coleman by forcing Deep Marine to set up a bogus contract with Minneapolis-based Hayes Cos., where Laurie Coleman worked, as a way to funnel money to her husband, who was a senator at the time.
Both Coleman and Kazeminy, as well as the Hayes Cos., have denied any wrongdoing.
One of the suits was dismissed in the spring on the grounds it was filed prematurely; the one by former Deep Marine CEO Paul McKim remains, but Deep Marine said it will use the new conclusion as grounds for dismissal.
After the allegations first surfaced, Deep Marine’s board formed a Special Litigation Committee and hired Washington, D.C., law firm Greenburg Traurig to investigate. This week, that panel reached its conclusion.
Gilman refused to discuss any specific allegations, including those involving Coleman, and he refused to release the report produced by the investigation.
FBI agents in Minnesota and Texas have begun inquiring into the allegations, sources have told the Pioneer Press.