Oil Firm Claims Execs Rolled It for Millions

     HOUSTON (CN) – Superior Energy Services claims in court that its top officers spirited away tens of millions of dollars through a web of companies they owned or controlled, in “a complex scheme of self-dealing.”
     Superior Energy Services and its affiliates Stabil Drill Specialties and SESI LLC claim lead defendants Christopher J. Russo and Martin A. Leblanc, “the executive officers who ran Stabil Drill,” led the scheme, with help from three individual and 10 corporate defendants.
     Superior Energy Services is the corporate parent of SESI, which is the parent of Stabil Drill Specialties, according to the April 19 complaint in Harris County Court.
     It claims LeBlanc, Russo et al. “directed the payment of more than $65 million over the course of a number of years to various entities owned and/or controlled by them or their co-conspirators.”
     They did this, according to the lawsuit, through “a complex scheme of self-dealing primarily by creating separate but interwoven corporate entities (which they owned or controlled) to overcharge Stabil Drill for goods and services, and to benefit themselves by being on both sides of various transactions.”
     Superior says it noticed “deficiencies” in LeBlanc’s and Russo’s corporate disclosures early 2016 this year.
     “An internal investigation revealed that the officers engaged in transactions with a number of interlocked corporate entities owned and controlled by LeBlanc, Russo and [defendant Scott] Kerstetter,” the complaint states.
     “Additional investigation revealed that defendant Laguna Oil Tools, LLC was basically a sham corporation.”
     Superior claims that LeBlanc, Russo and Kerstetter created sham entities in or about 2008 to initiate property, product and service contracts with it, but hid or failed to disclose their financial interests on both sides of the contracts.
     Laguna Oil Tools “is actually jointly managed and or controlled by LeBlanc, Russo and Kerstetter, and serves as a-pass through entity for various Renegade entities,” the complaint states.
     Renegade Performance Properties, Renegade Oil Tools, Renegade Manufacturing and Renegade Performance Coatings, all Louisiana LLCs, are among the corporate defendants, and LeBlanc, Russo and Kerstetter have interests in some or all of them, Superior says.
     It claims that most of the money it lost went to Laguna Oil Tools, which got $38.7 million for various contracts that were shuffled between the defendant companies.
     For example, “Stabil Drill sold property located in Youngsville, Louisiana to Laguna for $535,000,” the complaint states. “Mere months later, Laguna sold the same property to another one of the officers’ entities, defendant Renegade Performance Properties, for $700,000.”
     Superior claims the executives also interfered its own investment opportunities.
     It seeks punitive damages for conspiracy, fraud, theft of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty.
     It is represented by C. Thomas Kruse with Baker & Hostetler in Houston, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did Laguna Oil Tools.

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