Attorneys Exchange Verbal Punches in Jackson Lawsuit
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2006 8:10 AM
Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 5:03 PM
Attorneys for Emmanuel de Seroux and his Narvick International bloodstock agency issued a statement late Tuesday saying their client has done nothing wrong and, in fact, is owed money by Jess Jackson, the California winemaker who sued de Seroux and five others for alleged fraudulent misrepresentation in numerous bloodstock transactions from 2003-05.
Richard Getty, an attorney for Jackson based in Kentucky, countered with a statement Wednesday morning saying Jackson stands by the allegations made in the original complaint filed in September and in a motion for a second amended complaint filed last week.
The complaints allege de Seroux conspired with agents Brad Martin, Frederic Sauque, and Fernando Diaz-Valdez and trainer Bruce Headley to enrich themselves through kickbacks and hidden commissions in the private and public auction purchase for Jackson of Thoroughbred racing and breeding stock. It further alleged a conspiracy that also involved the late Mahmoud Fustok's Buckram Oak Holdings in a scheme to defraud Jackson of $1.5 million to $2.5 million in his purchase of Buckram Oak Farm from Fustok.
"Narvick and Mr. de Seroux did nothing wrong; complied with the agreement; had nothing to confess; and unequivocally deny the allegations," the statement from Los Angeles attorneys Daniel Platt and Kristin L. Holland said. "They have already denied the allegations in Mr. Jackson's original complaint and will be denying the new misstatements and fabrications as well. Mr. Jackson has had all the information on every transaction for months, none of it is new and all of it was given to Mr. Jackson the first time he asked for it – well before he filed his original complaint. Narvick and Mr. de Seroux did not defraud Mr. Jackson, nor did they engage in dual agencies or take excessive fees. In fact, Mr. Jackson still owes Narvick money – and Narvick will be filing a cross-complaint against Mr. Jackson for payment.
"Over a period of almost two years," the de Seroux statement continues, "Narvick assisted in Mr. Jackson's purchase of over 140 horses, with value at time of purchase of in excess of $60 million. Narvick dedicated its staff to Mr. Jackson at several major public auctions and helped him, among other things, manage his farm and operate and administrate his entire inventory while Jackson was setting up his own organizational infrastructure with Narvick's help. Jackson has not paid Narvick for the agreed-upon fee for these transactions and services nor has he reimbursed Narvick for its out-of-pocket expenditures, but, instead, has tried to avoid paying by claiming that Narvick's extensive assistance was only 'ministerial' and should not be compensated despite the fact that Narvick signed for all of its purchases in its own name and assumed full financial responsibility for those transactions. Similarly, Mr. Jackson claims it was wrong for sellers to pay fees to Narvick for horses purchased by Mr. Jackson. However, he also alleges that he expected Narvick to get its fees from the sellers. Apparently, Mr. Jackson expected Narvick to get its fees from the sellers. Apparently, Mr. Jackson expected Narvick to work for free. Indeed, Jackson's complaint conspicuously omits the fact that he did not directly pay Narvick or Mr. de Seroux any fees.
"The motive for the vociferous and frequent lobbying by Mr. Jackson in the media must be questioned. Perhaps Mr. Jackson and his counsel have determined that the legal system will not be in accord with his view of the relationship and has decided to wage his battle in the media in an attempt to discredit Narvick."
Getty responded on behalf of Jackson: "After reviewing the press release distributed by the lawyers for Emmanuel de Seroux and Narvick International, the plaintiffs take issue with every assertion it contains.
"First and foremost, the plaintiffs take issue with the characterization that they have decided to wage a legal battle in the media. The plaintiffs have, in fact, taken great pains to avoid commenting on this litigation in the media. Counsel for the plaintiffs has continually directed the media to the pleadings on file in court rather than commenting on this litigation in the media. Counsel for the plaintiffs has continually directed the media to the pleadings on file in court rather than comment.
"Second, as stated in the court filings, the arrangement between the plaintiffs and Mr. de Seroux and Narvick was that Mr. de Seroux would be paid a 5% commission from the sellers on the private horse purchases he arranged. This would have amounted to approximately $400,000 if done honestly and is starkly contrasted against the over $3 million Mr. de Seroux and Narvick actually received and concealed from the plaintiffs.
"Contrary to the press release issued by the lawyers for Mr. de Seroux and Narvick, the plaintiffs paid the defendants whatever amounts they invoiced for expenses and costs throughout the entirety of their business relationship."
"Rather than proceed line-by-line through the defendants' press release and point out the misrepresentations and false statements, the plaintiffs stand by the allegations made in their court filings. The plaintiffs are confident in the legal system and look forward to the truth coming out in open court."
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