DALLAS (CN) - Energy magnate T. Boone Pickens fired back at his estranged son's multimillion-dollar lawsuit against him, claiming his family is being held "hostage" in an extortion scheme.
Michael O. Pickens sued his father in Dallas County Court in November, claiming his dad failed to pay $15.1 million worth of interests in energy companies for which Michael worked. Michael claimed he was promised a $50,000 annual salary and 7.6 percent interest in Mesa Prime Partners if he took a job at Primess Energy Partners LP in 2010.
Pickens owns 90 percent of Mesa Prime, which is a limited partner in Primexx. Michael claims he is also owed a 50 percent interest in drilling software firm Neofirma in exchange for "watching over the company."
Michael also claims he is owed $500,000 in commissions for performing due diligence on FLW Outdoors, a company in which he says his father invested $10 million.
Pickens responded to the lawsuit on Dec. 15, calling it part of a scheme "to extort $20 million from his father."
The elder Pickens minced no words in his answer and counterclaim.
"After becoming upset with his family during the Pickens family's 2012 Thanksgiving dinner, and in need of money due to a lifetime of failed career choices and substance abuse problems, Mike Pickens began a campaign of harassment of his father and siblings, using Internet posts falsely accusing his father of inflicting abuse on Mike Pickens as a child and casting his siblings as failures and addicts," the 26-page document states.
"After the Pickens family had enough of Mike Pickens' harassment, and Boone Pickens and three of his children brought a lawsuit against Mike Pickens, the true purpose of Mike Pickens' campaign of harassment was revealed: Mike Pickens had his lawyer demand $20 million to avoid a 'public airing of dirty laundry,' including a threatened interview with D Magazine, a prominent Dallas magazine, a promised book, and an interview on the Dr. Phil television show."
Pickens said his son's allegations "escalated precipitously" after the demands were rejected. He said Michael's blog posts about the family are defamatory, that a story about Pickens abandoning him on a burning boat when Michael was a child is false.
He claims his son is harassing him and his attorneys.
"Mike Pickens' harassment included driving by his father's home, office, and the airport hangar where Boone Pickens' private aircraft is located, writing directly to his father, publishing on the Internet photos of Boone Pickens and his attorneys which were taken without consent at Mike Pickens' deposition, and faking a fax from one of Boone Pickens' attorneys to Boone Pickens," the answer states. "This harassment resulted in the imposition of injunctive relief and sanctions against Mike Pickens by the trial court in the first lawsuit."
Pickens said the family later voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against Michael in a desire to separate from him and "his crazy antics and behavior, which seemed to only be encouraged by being in litigation."
Pickens said Michael's lawsuit asserts frivolous and time-barred claims, some of which were brought and dismissed in the previous lawsuit.
"Mike Pickens' claims make a mockery of the truth," the answer states.
" Boone Pickens is hereby asserting his defenses and counterclaims, including re-asserting some of the claims Boone Pickens made in the first lawsuit since, apparently, this lawsuit is round two in Mike Pickens' extortion scheme against his father."
Pickens said Michael was convicted and sentenced to five years probation and $1.2 million in restitution in New York Federal Court in 2007 in a felony securities fraud case.
"All told, Boone paid more than $2.6 million to help his son and his family," the answer states. "Boone paid for all of these expenses in order to help his son avoid prison and so that he could rebuild his life, and because Mike promised in writing to repay 'every penny.'"
Pickens said he continued to support Michael by making loans to him and that he was fired "because he refused to work."
CORRECTION: The original version of this article reported that Michael Pickens could not be reached for comment, but Mr. Pickens denies ever having received such a request. Courthouse News regrets the error.
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