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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Courthouse News Service
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Receiver Goes After|Public Relations Firm

DALLAS (CN) - The court-appointed receiver for a Houston businessman who racked up $117 million in tax judgments is going after the man's public relations firm, seeking return of more than $835,000 in cash and gifts.

Receiver Robert Ogle sued PR Squared LLC and its principal Leslie Bennett in Federal Court, seeking return of allegedly fraudulent transfers Ogle calls "thinly veiled gifts to Bennett, who had a personal relationship with" Arthur Piner Grider III.

Grider owned several businesses, including tech employee staffing firms, that accrued tens of millions of dollars in payroll and unemployment tax liabilities that resulted in two federal lawsuits against him, according to the complaint.

In March 2011, the federal government was awarded more than $12 million in federal trust fund recovery penalties in one case, and a month later was awarded more than $105 million in federal trust fund recovery penalties and federal unemployment taxes in the second lawsuit, according to Ogle's complaint.

Ogle claims that from 2007 to 2010 PR Squared was paid more than $638,000 for public relations services that were not of "any substantial fair value, certainly not of a value commensurate with the payments made."

Bennet was directly paid $47,000 in 2009, and Grider showered her with extravagant gifts, Ogle says in the complaint.

"The gifts included earrings valued at more than $65,000 and a Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet automobile, model year 2007, valued at more than $85,000," the complaint states.

Ogle said that at the time of each payment and gift, Grider or the entity making the payment or gift was insolvent.

Ogle is represented by H. Miles Cohn with Sheiness, Scott, Grossman & Cohn, of Houston.

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