There is some irony in the story being reported by the Associated Press’ Lawrence Messina about a lawsuit brought by Progressive Minerals LLC against several officers of Global Empire Investments and Holdings LLC.  Progressive Minerals LLC v. Rashid, Civil Action No. 5:07-CV-108 (N. D. W. Va. August 24, 2007).  But first, a description of what’s involved in the case.

Here is the complaint, in which Progressive asserts that it paid a $750,000 “commitment fee” to Global for its assistance in providing $200 million in financing for Progressive’s purchase of a coal mine in southern West Virginia from Justice Energy Company, Inc.

But after Global accepted the fee, it never provided the loan.  And while Progressive was waiting to hear from Global, Progressive learned that Global had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Texas and listed assets consisting of three bank accounts totaling $3,369.24 and two office buildings assessed at $5.4 million but with secured debt of $12.8 million against them.  In other words, not quite a “global empire.”

Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr. recently dismissed two defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction, but denied the motion as to a third.  He also entered a scheduling order that sets a bench trial to begin on October 14, 2009.

The irony in the lawsuit stems from the fact that Progressive’s president is former West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., whose own past suggests that he would recognize a swindle when he sees one.  In 1990, he pled guilty to five felonies resulting from corruption while in office and served three years in prison and on home confinement.

In 1993, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel provided by his lawyer, William Hundley.  U.S. v. Moore, 993 F.2d 1541 (4th Cir. 1993).

I always thought that Moore’s ineffective assistance claim was ridiculous, considering that Hundley had been the former chief of the Organized Crime Division of the Department of Justice under Robert F. Kennedy and was a noted criminal defense lawyer in Washington, D.C.   Plus, he had represented Moore on two earlier occasions.