In a recent off-screen court drama, actorsand found themselves face to face as trial opened on Monday with Baldwin claiming that Costner, along with his business partner, Patrick Smith, cheated him and a friend out of their share of $18 million.
The lawsuit revolves around the BP deal in which the company was to buy oil-separating centrifuges after the April 2010 oil spill on the Mexican coast.
According to the court complaint, Costner financed and managed the development of the oil-separating technology in 1990s. His company approached one of Baldwin’s associates, Spyridon Contogouris, to market the technology and the two signed an agreement, according to which, Contogouris was to receive a certain commission on the sales of the device. However, efforts to monetize the device failed miserably and Contogouris sold out his rights to a Nevada businessman, Bret Shelton.
After the 2010 oil spill, Contogouris contacted Costner again to discuss the possibility to sell the device to BP to respond to the environmental disaster. Baldwin and Contogouris eventually convinced Costner and after obtaining an exclusive agreement from Shelton, Costner, Contogouris and Baldwin entered into an agreement to form a joint venture to market the technology by the name of “Ocean Therapy Solutions”.
According to ABC News, fallings-out between the members of the consortium resulted in a complicated legal battle. By the time, the $52 million deal was finally signed by BP, Baldwin and Contogouris had been shut out by Costner and two other partners. Baldwin is now claiming that the defendants failed to disclose the deal and the $18 million advance deposit by BP along with any other funds expected.
Baldwin also claims that he and Contogouris were deceived into letting go off their shares in OTS. Just a day before the deal was finalized, Baldwin owned 10% of the company and Contogouris owned 28%. Together they are seeking more than $21 million in damages.
On the other hand, Costner has filed for dismissal of the lawsuit, claiming that he played no official role on the OTS. He, along with other defendants, is seeking unspecified damages in counter claims.
Neither Baldwin nor Costner has testified in the court and both have avoided any direct contact with each other so far. However, both are expected to appear in the court, according to a report by Reuters.