June 6th, 2012 by faye
Actors Kevin Costner and Stephen Baldwin face off in court as the trial opens over the BP deal for the Gulf spill clean-up device. Costner is ready to prove the jury that he is not a fraud, contrary to what Baldwin accuses him of.
According to previous reports, “The Flyboys” star Stephen Baldwin filed a lawsuit against 57-year-old Kevin Costner, claiming that “The Bodyguard” star and a business partner of his defrauded Baldwin and his friend out of their shares of an $18 million deal for BP to purchase oil-separating centrifuges after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.
U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman told prospective jurors that they could not be influenced by the status of the two actors. ”Celebrity has no place in this courtroom or in any of the issues that need to be resolved by the jury in this trial,” Feldman said.
The selection of the jury for the trial ended shortly before one in the afternoon. Judge Feldman asked the potential jurors if Kevin Costner and Stephen Baldwin compromised the ability to give an objective verdict. Nobody among the jurors said they felt influenced.
Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Costner did not have an interaction before the proceedings commenced. Baldwin told The Associated Press his attorneys had given him an advise not to comment on the subject matter.
Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris, said that they were not aware of the deal when they agreed to sell their shares of Ocean Therapy Solutions, a company which marketed the centrifuges to BP that will be used in the spill, for $1.4 million and $500,000, respectively.
BP ordered 32 centrifuges and sent some of the devices on a barge back in June 2010. BP capped its blown-out Macondo well the following month and had kept the oil from leaking, until the well was sealed permanently in September 2010.
The lawsuit states that Stephen Baldwin and Contogouris claim that they were intentionally excluded from a meeting on June 8 with Kevin Costner, his business partner Patrick Smith, and BP executive Doug Suttles, who all agreed to make a deposit of $18 million on a $32 million order for the 32 clean-up devices. That same month, Kevin Costner and Suttles went to Port Fourchon in Los Angeles to discuss the plan of using the centrifuges.
“It was designed to give us a fighting chance, to fight back the oil before it got us by the throat,” Costner said at the time.
Baldwin and Contogouris said that they were entitled to the share of BP’s deposit. The lawsuit they filed claims Kevin Costner and Smith planned to make use of the BP’s deposit to buy their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions.
“Maybe one of the directions that Mr. Costner might go as a defendant in this case is that he had taken a great deal of risk as it relates to these machines,” legal analyst Chick Foretsaid.
Kevin Costner said he did not push through with a June 6, 2010 meeting which Contogouris agreed to sell his shares in OTC.
“Not only did Costner not know that Plaintiffs were negotiating to sell their OTS interests, he was surprised and offended by the idea that Contogouris and Baldwin would walk away from OTS with almost $2 million in cash despite having invested no money in the company, and at a time when a contract with BP was uncertain to materialize,” a court filing said, summarizing the version of Kevin Costner.
Stephen Baldwin and Contogouris are seeking more than $21 million in damages. Kevin Costner and other defendants also are seeking damages in counterclaims.