The Coleman campaign says both suits are part of an Al Franken-inspired smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation. The Franken camp says they have nothing to do with the litigation.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporters Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy, who have led the coverage, report today that a group of minority investors in Deep Marine Technology are making allegations against Kazeminy and Coleman nearly identical to the lawsuit filed in Houston last week .
The new suit was filed by a New York attorney in Delaware, where DMT is chartered, on Friday.
The money quote:
The second suit, brought by FLI Deep Marine LLC and Bressner Partners LTD, attributes its allegations to a "confidential source.''
According to the lawsuit, the source was told by Kazeminy in 2007 that "we have to get some money to Senator Coleman'' because the senator "needs the money.''
Anthony Paduano, a New York lawyer involved in the new lawsuit, said the suit was filed in Delaware Chancery Court by business partners who own more than 5 percent of stock in Deep Marine.
The lawsuit is very similar to one filed earlier in the week in Houston by McKim. Both actions allege that Kazeminy told executives at Deep Marine that he wanted to provide financial assistance to the Colemans through an insurance consulting arrangement between Deep Marine and Hays Companies. But the second suit cites a "confidential source." The lawsuit alleges "gross misuse'' of corporate funds at Deep Marine by Kazeminy, who controls a majority share of stock.
The complaint contains a section of allegations related to "improper payments to Senator Norman Coleman's wife.'' But in a new wrinkle, Deep Marine's former CEO, McKim, is named as a co-defendant with Kazeminy and several other individuals who were in positions of authority at the company.
Coleman's campaign denied the latest suit as another ploy by Coleman opponent Al Franken. The Minnesota Republican is taking a shoot-the-messenger tack against the Strib reporters -- who were rebuffed by the senator when they tried to get direct comment from him after campaign events.
Coleman's campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, said Friday night that the suits are "baseless and false claims ... being used to influence the outcome of the election.''
Sheehan also said that the Star Tribune, by reporting on the lawsuits, "is actively participating in the destruction of the reputation of Senator Coleman and his wife.''