by Paul Demko
The U.S. Senate contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken appears to be nearing an end. But a Texas legal battle that could also have grave political consequences for Coleman doesn’t seem likely to be resolved any time soon.
Just days before the November election, Paul McKim filed an incendiary lawsuit against longtime Coleman patron Nasser Kazeminy in Harris County District Court. It accused Kazeminy and his business associates of financially sabotaging the company that McKim founded, Deep Marine Technology. It also accused Kazeminy of trying to funnel $100,000 to Coleman through a Minneapolis insurance firm where his wife worked.
An almost identical allegation was made in a separate lawsuit filed in Delaware. B.J. Thomas, the former chief financial officer for Deep Marine Technology, has since corroborated parts of the allegations in a deposition stemming from the Texas case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the relationship between Coleman and Kazeminy.
According to Casey Wallace, the attorney representing McKim, Deep Marine Technology is seeking to bog down the case. The company’s board of directors has formed a “special litigation committee” to investigate the allegations.
“The special litigation committee is doing everything to stonewall this whole deal,” Wallace says. “It’s phenomenal to me the positions that they’re taking.”
But he doesn’t believe the legal machinations are necessarily related to the political implications of the case, he said.
“I don’t have any reason to believe that it has to do with the Norm Coleman thing,” Wallace says. “Honestly the Norm Coleman issues are very small.”
There are no settlement talks scheduled in the case, and no trial date has been set.
Coleman is not a plaintiff in the case. He and his wife have denied receiving any money from Deep Marine Technology. Kazeminy has also denied seeking to funnel money to the former senator.