DALLAS (CN) - Billionaire T. Boone Pickens defamed his estranged son and reneged on giving him $15.1 million worth of interests in energy companies he worked for under his father, the son claims in court.
Michael O. Pickens, of Ardmore, Okla. sued his father on Monday in Dallas County Court.
Michael claims his father promised him a $50,000 annual salary and a 7.6 percent interest in Mesa Prime Partners if he took a job at Primess Energy Partners LP in 2010.
T. Boone Pickens owns 90 percent of Mesa Prime, which is a limited partner in Primexx.
"Boone never executed the transfer documents even though Mike relied upon Boone's promise and upheld his end of the bargain," the 10-page complaint states. "Mike believes the Primexx interest he was promised to be worth at least $13.6 million not including interest."
Michael claims his father also promised him 50 percent of his interest in Neofirma, a drilling industry software firm, in exchange for Michael's "watching over the company."
"Part of Mike's duties included attending Neofirma's board meetings," the complaint states. "Boone never executed the transfer documents even though Mike relied upon Boone's promises and upheld his end of the bargain."
Michael also claims he is owed $500,000 in commissions for performing due diligence on FLW Outdoors, a company Pickens considered investing in.
"Mike met with FLW representatives and management, flew to FLW's office in Minnesota, tirelessly reviewed FLW's business records, and witnessed and assessed FLW's business operations first hand," the complaint states. "On information and belief, Boone invested at least $10 million into FLW because of Mike's diligence."
Michael's relationship with his father deteriorated so badly that Pickens anonymously sued his son in April 2013 in Dallas County Court, alleging invasion of privacy, for allegations Michael made online regarding his upbringing.
"I was clinically depressed at age 10," a blog post stated, according to court filings. "I began drinking beer and whiskey when I was 12 - by the time I was 17 I was a drug addict and an alcoholic, smoking pot every day before and after school, eating my mother's Valium and Darvon and snorting cocaine."
The blog purportedly described how fear-filled the home was when Pickens was there.
"Long, frightening, yelling and screaming 'matches' were common," another post stated. "It was my father against us, always. He hated and despised all of us and we knew it. We needed to 'run our lives in a businesslike manner,' he would say.' I did not know what this meant. Business? Were we in a store or in an office? What did he mean? What was he talking about?"
Pickens flatly denied the allegations in the stories, describing them as extortion, cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying.
Michael argued in court that his posts were protected free speech under the First Amendment.
In Monday's lawsuit, Michael says his father's statements in the dispute are defamatory, including statements about the family spending "considerable time and money to help him resolve his addiction and mental health issues."
Michael also claims his father said the family's "heartfelt" concerns are based on Michael's "well-documented legal and addition issues as well as his employment history."
Michael says the statements "impute commission of a crime." He claims his father has been harassing him by hiring someone to sit outside of his home and follow him.
"This individual watches Mike, his family, and Mike's property in a harassing and menacing manner," the complaint states. "When questioned about his purpose, this individual admitted that he had been hired by Boone."
Pickens could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
Michael seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, defamation, harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is represented by Thomas Bowers in Dallas.
Bowers recently made headlines for representing Jana Weckerly, an Oklahoma woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in 2009. She claimed Jones and the football team threatened and bullied her into keeping quiet while paying her "hush money." The parties settled the claims in October, with Jones, the Cowboys and attorney Levi McCathern paying Weckerly nothing.Follow @davejourno
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