Stephen Baldwin Sues Kevin Costner Over BP Oil Machine Deal


Photo credit: Ilya Haykinson via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA

One of the few amusing side notes in the BP Gulf spill saga was Kevin Costner riding to the rescue with an oil-sucking machine his scientist brother had built. Even more surprising was news that the machine was deemed effective, and BP was buying up $52 million worth of them for use in combating the spill. But evidently that wasn't enough celebrity oddness satisfy the BP spill legacy -- now, Stephen Baldwin, a onetime investor in Costner's company, is suing Costner for allegedly pushing him out of the deal with BP. Here's the AP:

Stephen Baldwin has sued fellow actor Kevin Costner over their investments in a device that BP used in trying to clean up the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The federal lawsuit filed in New Orleans on Wednesday by Baldwin and a friend claims Costner and a business partner duped them out of their shares of an $18 million deal for BP to purchase oil-separating centrifuges from a company they formed after the April 20 spill. BP ordered 32 of the centrifuges, which separate oil from water, and deployed a few of the devices on a barge in June.

Evidently, Baldwin and a friend owned shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions, the company that sold Costner's oil-eating centrifuges to BP. Right before Baldwin sold his shares in the company, he claims he was excluded from the meeting with BP in which the oil giant agreed to put an $18 million deposit on the machines. The AP reports:
Baldwin and his friend claim they were deliberately excluded from a June 8 meeting between Costner, his business partner Patrick Smith and a BP executive, Doug Suttles. At the meeting, the suit says, Suttles agreed to make a $18 million deposit on a $52 million order for the 32 devices. Baldwin and Contogouris said they didn't know about the deal when, three days later, they agreed to sell their shares of the company for $1.4 million and $500,000, respectively.

Baldwin and his friend say they were entitled to shares of BP's deposit. Instead, their suit claims Costner and Smith "schemed" to use money from BP's deposit to buy their shares in the company.

Well, good thing this made the news -- the only dramatic narrative element the BP spill story is missing is a high-profile celebrity spat.

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