Thursday, October 30, 2008

Norm Coleman Lawsuit: "Not Unlike Ted Stevens' Case"

Several news sites today reported on a lawsuit against Norm Coleman filed by Texas businessman Paul McKim, alleging that he was forced by long-time Coleman friend (and alleged "Suit-gate" benefactor) Nasser Kazeminy to make $75,000 in secret payments to the senator's wife, Laurie:

The Nation:
In March 2007, Kazeminy began ordering the payment of corporate funds to companies and individuals who tendered no goods or services to DMT for the states purpose of trying to financially assist United States Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. In March 2007, Kazeminy telephoned B.J. Thomas, then DMT's Chief Financial Officer. In that conversation, Kazeminy told Mr. Thomas that "US Senators don't make [expletive deleted]" and that he was going to find a way to get money to Coleman and wanted to utilize DMT in the process...Kazeminy told Mr. McKim that he [Kazeminy] would make sure there was paperwork to make it appear as though the payments were made in connection with the legitimate transations, explaining further that Senator Coleman's wife, Laurie, worked for the Hays Companies, an insurance broker in Minneapolis, and that the payments could be made to Hays for insurance. When Mr. McKim made further objections, Kazeminy repeatedly threatened to fire Mr. McKim, telling him "this is my company" and that he and Thomas had better follow his orders in paying Hays. Subsequently, Kazeminy caused Hays to produce a document entitled "Disclosure of Service Fees" which purported to legitimize the basis of the payments to be made to Hays by DMT.

In other words, the same guy that was allegedly buying Norm his suits was also funneling large sums of money through one of his companies to Norm Coleman through his wife.

This is not unlike Ted Stevens’ case.

Kazeminy, you'll recall, was involved in Norm's "Suit-gate" scandal. Besides being accused of paying for Norm's shopping bills at Nieman Marcus, Kazeminy has also been campaign donor and sometime-travel agent to the Coleman family. I still haven't seen anything that proves that Normie buys his own clothes. I have, however, seen what the Washington Post has called “the most awkward press conference in the history of politics.” And I now have a pretty good idea of what Norm was running away from yesterday, when two investigative reporters from the Star-Tribune asked him questions about the lawsuit.

Since this morning, the lawsuit has been withdrawn, but the Huffington Post notes:
On Thursday, Coleman's campaign manager Cullen Sheehan was asked about the issue during a press conference, He claimed that "the lawsuit was withdrawn," and said he had no further details to offer. "I just know there was a lawsuit filed and it was withdrawn."

Casey T. Wallace, the attorney representing McKim, confirmed the withdrawal and said he would have more comment later in the day. A person familiar with the case, however, emphasized that while the complaint may have been withdrawn, the charges contained within it were still valid.

"It doesn't affect that," said the official. "By withdrawing the complaint and withdrawing the petition, we are not saying now that our allegations are false."

Requests for comment from McKim and the Coleman campaign went un-returned. But lawyers familiar with Senate ethics law say that if the complaint turns out to be true, Coleman could be in hot water, possibly facing a trial and potentially jail time.

Meanwhile, Brian Melendez, Chair of the Minnesota DFL, in a statement today, said:
"These allegations of criminal behavior are serious and deeply troubling. The Plaintiff has verified those allegations — meaning that he will go to jail if he’s lying. Senator Coleman has a duty to the people of Minnesota to explain why those allegations aren’t true before the voters go to the polls on Tuesday."

Norm is just bad news for the people of Minnesota. He needs to go.


risingsn said...

I'm waiting for Coleman to allege that Franken was behind the lawsuit and convinced the gentleman to introduce it with no other intention but to defame him. But the fact that McKim has verified those comments and could go to jail if he was lying makes it seem really unlikely.

Strong said...

It was Obama, don't you know? He tanked the economy, and now he's causing trouble for Norm! *LOL*