By ARELIS HERNANDEZ, Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON — Both parties in a lawsuit against a prominent donor to former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman say they want to end their legal battle and look forward to a court dismissal, attorneys said.
Houston District Judge Michael Gomez will rule at the end of this week whether to dismiss a lawsuit between business associates Nasser Kazeminy, a donor close to the former senator, and Deep Marine Technology’s former Chief Executive Paul McKim.
Among other things, the civil case accuses Kazeminy of trying to improperly funnel $75,000 to the Coleman family through a Minneapolis insurer that employs the former senator’s wife. McKim was the acting CEO of the company when, he claims, majority shareholder Kazeminy ordered him to pay $25,000. Two subsequent checks of the same amount were purportedly paid to Coleman through Hays Insurance Company.
McKim’s claims surfaced in the final days of Coleman’s re-election bid, which he lost to Democrat Al Franken by 312 votes. Coleman’s name is not mentioned in the case but both he and Kazeminy have “vehemently denied the allegations.”
Defense lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case entirely while McKim’s attorney filed a discontinuance — which under Texas law drops the lawsuit claim while opting to pursue other direct claims.
“He wants to pull away from the case,” K.B. Battaglini, an attorney for Deep Marine Technology, said of McKim.
Kazeminy’s attorney, Robert Weinstine, said McKim’s lawsuit was part of an effort to blackmail his client. The attorney said a defamation suit against McKim is being “very strongly considered.”
“All I can tell you is that there was never ever any sort of payment to Norm Coleman through the Hays Insurance Company or anything that was illicit or inappropriate,” Weinstine said.
McKim’s attorney, Casey Wallace, refused to comment on the hearing. Several calls to his office were not returned. McKim is in Singapore and a call to his cell phone was unsuccessful.
Earlier this year, a special litigation committee investigated McKim’s claims against Kazeminy, but no evidence was found to support them.