A lawsuit that was filed in Texas a few days before Norm Coleman's filing involved one of Norm Coleman's close friends and major political contributor and contained some very serious allegations. If proven true these allegations would likely lead to further investigations and a trial much like what now indicted Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens has recently gone through.
In the lawsuit Paul McKim, the former CEO of an oil-rig servicing company in Houston, alleges he was coerced by 50% shareholder Iranian-born Nasser Kaseminy, a Norm Coleman friend and major political contributor, to funnel payments to Norm Coleman's wife through her employer Hays Companies in Saint Paul Minnesota.
The lawsuit was entered into Harris county court in Texas on Monday, then pulled on Tuesday because of ongoing negotiations, and then re-submitted to the courts on Thursday. The plaintiff, McKim, signed an affidavit under oath on Friday and updated the lawsuit to include additional exhibits. The Minneapolis Star Tribune obtained a copy of the lawsuit and exhibits. These documents show "service fees" paid to the Hays Companies where Laurie Coleman works. Below is a copy of one of the payments included as an exhibit in the lawsuit and is apparently from a ledger, a payment of $25,000 to Hays is circled in ink with a note: "Please pull this detail and delete... 8/19/08."
Photocopy of Payment Statement from Deep Marine Technology to Hays Companies
Mr. McKim alleges in the lawsuit that:
In March 2007, Kazeminy began ordering the payments of corporate funds to companies and individuals who tendered no goods or services to DMT for the stated 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 "U.S. Senators don't make [expletive deleted]" and that he was going to find a way to get money to United States Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota and wanted to utilize DMT in the process.
McKim told the Star Tribune that Kazeminy approached him in 2007 with a "directive" to send $100,000 to Senator Coleman through Hays. "He said that the senator's wife worked there and she could get the money to him," McKim told the newspaper. "I was kind of stunned. I was really shocked he would come out and say that so nonchalantly." McKim said his company had no need for new insurance at the time, as it was already paying $1 million a year for insurance through underwriters in London.
At a last minute news conference in Moorhead Minnesota yesterday, Coleman called McKim's suit "sleazy politics". "If my opponents have any shred of decency left in this campaign -- stop attacking my family," Coleman also said.
Norm later said in a prepared statement released to the Star Tribune in reference to his wife, "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". That of course is true because neither Norm or Laurie Coleman or the Hays Companies were listed as a party in the suit. The only company involved in the lawsuit is Deep Marine Technology. But Norm's statement of denial doesn't address the question of whether the money was funneled from Deep Marine Technology to the Hays Companies and then to Laurie Coleman.
The Al Franken campaign, which seemed just as surprised as everyone else, has flatly denied any involvement and said no one associated with the Franken campaign had anything to do with bringing the lawsuit to light.
Norm Coleman's accusation that this was an 11th hour political attack by Al Franken doesn't seem to be holding much water. Casey Wallace, one of McKim's lawyers, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that his client's lawsuit had nothing to do with the impending election between Franken and Coleman. It has also been found out that Paul McKim is a Republican and stated in a conversation with Saint Paul Pioneer Press on Friday that he does not know either Norm Coleman or Al Franken and has not had any contact with them.
Some are also rightly questioning why Norm Coleman filed a defamation suit against Al Franken also on Thursday and even suggest that Norm Coleman might have done this as a diversionary tactic. It would probably be naïve to think Norm Coleman didn't already know about the lawsuit filed against his friend Nasser Kaseminy two days prior.
The lawsuit filed by Norm Coleman on Al Franken on Thursday would not be heard by the courts until Tuesday and experts say it is doubtful that it would go very far. That lawsuit stems from radio and TV ad's that Al Franken has been running against Norm Coleman stating that a bipartisan watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), reported that Norm Coleman was the 4th most corrupt Senator in congress.
Melanie Sloan, the organization's director, told the City Pages on Thursday, "I can see how they came to that conclusion, but that's certainly not what we said."
Because CREW only listed 4 senators in their report and the other 96 did not make the report she said it would be correct to say Coleman is one of four most corrupt senators in their report. What seems to be in question is that the Al Franken campaign said Norm Coleman was the 4th most corrupt Senator and CREW is saying their report said Norm was one of the four most corrupt Senators and did not necessarily assign the rank of 4th.
The CREW report that came out earlier this fall pointed to four U.S. Senators that made their list of the most corrupt members of Congress. Republican Norm Coleman was one of the four that also included now indicted Republican Ted Stevens, Republican Mitch McConnell, and Democrat Mary Landrieu.