Attorneys representing a defendant in a Monroe businessman’s multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging racketeering and money laundering deny their client was involved in any illegal scheme.
The defendant’s answer admitted that one former officer of TP Environmental and Pipeline Services LLC was once “charged with unlawful transportation of hazardous waste and unlawful concealment of hazardous waste.”
Stanley Palowsky III of Monroe had stated in his lawsuit that Oklahoma resident Michael Holder was an officer and employee of TP Environmental and was a convicted felon who had pled guilty to the two charges. On the professional website LinkedIn, Holder states he was an owner of TP Environmental from June 2008 to June 2014.
Palowsky’s lawsuit was originally filed in 2013 in Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe as Stanley R. Palowsky III v. W. Brandon Cork and others. Cork was first identified as a 50-percent shareholder in Alternative Environmental Solutions Inc. along with Palowsky. In February, Cork was dropped as a defendant in an agreement that turned over full control of AESI to Palowsky. Other defendants were named in Palowsky’s lawsuit at that time.
Palowsky’s lawsuit has maintained throughout that Cork and others cheated him and AESI, an environmental remediation company, out of millions of dollars in an alleged racketeering and money laundering scheme.
The law firm of Seabaugh Joffrion Sepulvado & Victory LLC of Shreveport stated in its answer filed March 17 that TP Environmental denies liability for any illegal acts by Holder.
“Any inference that any alleged wrongful actions by Holder were within the scope of his employment and/or position as an officer of TP Environmental are denied. To the extent they occurred, the alleged wrongful acts of Michael Holder were committed outside the scope of his employment and any other relationship he may have had with TP Environmental,” the document states.
Other defendants named by Palowsky in his lawsuit in February included Anthony White of Webster Parish, who was an agent and managing member of OHC Services LLC, also named as a defendant; Anadarko Petroleum Corp.; and Dana Howard, currently residing in Texas, who was an Anadarko employee when she lived in Louisiana.
“Palowsky initially brought this action as a shareholder’ s derivative action to recover damages due to AESI as set forth herein because another officer of AESI claimed to be a 50 percent shareholder and objected to the suit,” stated Palowsky’s amended petition. “That issue has been resolved, and Palowsky is now the undisputed sole shareholder of AESI, and AESI now proceeds as a Plaintiff along with Palowsky for damages sustained as indicated below.”
While his company was performing work for Anadarko, Palowsky suspected kickbacks were arranged between AESI and its subcontractors, including TP Environmental. The alleged scheme is complicated and involves numerous people and entities.
According to the amended lawsuit filed in February, Palowsky began to encounter blowback from his colleagues once he began investigating what he believed were overbilling and other invoice discrepancies. Some of those discrepancies included “extra equipment hours, lodging services, and an extra fictitious person” added to the bills, according to the petition. The petition lists 41 dates on which a fictitious person was supposedly used to mount extra charges forwarded to AESI.
The overcharges at issue were more than $1 million, according to Palowsky’s amended lawsuit.
“As set forth above, Cork, (Michael Holder, a defendant), Howard and (Anthony White, manager of OHC and a defendant) developed a scheme to skim money from payments made by AESI to OHC as a result of Howard’s informing Cork what Palowsky would be looking for with regard to overbilling,” the amended lawsuit continued. “The scheme involved TP (TP Environmental and Pipeline Services, of which Holder was an officer) overcharging for services performed on (Anadarko’ s) Carpenter project. The overcharges were then incorporated into invoices submitted by OHC to AESI. When AESI remitted payment to OHC, OHC remitted a portion of the sum back to TP.
“The skimmed money was placed into one or more accounts owned and controlled by White and/or Holder. The funds were then utilized, at least in part, to fund the purchase of equipment for a new unincorporated enterprise owned and controlled by Holder, White and Cork. This ‘ off-the-books’ and illegal enterprise continued to work together to conceal the fraudulently obtained and converted money while intentionally evading payroll and income taxes and other state reporting requirements.”
The enterprise involving Holder, White and Cork pursued additional work from Anadarko, the Jackson Parish School Board and Denbury Resources Inc., according to Palowsky’s amended lawsuit.
Palowsky’s lawsuit claims the defendants’ acts constitute racketeering and money laundering under state law.
The alleged fraud and overcharges uncovered by Palowsky led an Anadarko employee, Ross Haeberle to recommend AESI be “‘retired’ since it, as a corporate entity, is under a bit of a cloud,’” according to the amended lawsuit.
“In fact, since 2012, Anadarko has been working with Cork to intentionally destroy AESI,” stated the amended lawsuit.