According to the filing, people from Costner"s group told the two that there was no deal to sell their oil-separating centrifuges to BP and then bought them out using money they had already received from their agreement with BP. "This action effectively robbed plaintiffs of a distribution that otherwise would have been payable to plaintiffs," the New York Post quoted the suit as reading.
Baldwin was bought out for 500,000 dollars and Contogouris for 1.4 million dollars, while Costner's group pocketed 28 million dollars in profits from their pioneering disaster equipment, the suit says. According to the suit, Contogouris and Costner had worked together since the early 2000s, when they struck a deal for the businessman to help the actor-director market oil-and-water-separating technology.
But the project didn"t work and Costner sold off the rights to his centrifuge company, the suit says. When the oil spill occurred, Contogouris said, investors formed a company that struck a deal with Costner's old company and started marketing the devices to BP, which decided to test it in May.
Contogouris said he and Baldwin started discussions about getting out in early June, not knowing that Costner and two others had a meeting with BP scheduled for June 8. Costner testified before Congress the next day and indicated that "BP had placed an order for a number of units," the suit says.
When Contogouris asked about the deal, he was told there wasn't one. They signed a deal two days later to sell their shares back, the suit says. Only a month later did they realize that Costner had been telling the truth to Congress -- he had struck a deal at the June 8 meeting with BP to sell 32 of their machines for 52 million dollars, and BP had already turned over an 18 million dollars deposit by the time Baldwin and Contogouris cashed out.
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