Hedgie T.Boone Pickens Son Fights Back: Counter Suit Says Dad Stole Money From Him

This story has been updated with the results of the anti-SLAAP hearing. See bottom of Story.

The Texas oilman who sued his son for invasion of privacy after he wrote a tell-all blog about T.Boone Pickens parenting problems is now facing a counterclaim suit for millions. Michael Pickens filed a lengthy and detailed list of claims against his famous millionaire Dad for allegedly taking control of assets and funds that Michael owned. Michael’s attorney Collin Porterfield also filed an amended motion to dismiss Boone’s suit claiming their new ‘extortion’ claim is utter nonsense and not even legal for Boone’s attorneys to try to claim because of some legal reason about the negotiations being private and not allowed to be litigated.

Michael’s counterclaim suit alleges Boone and another unnamed person forged Michael’s name on a U.S. Treasury tax refund check of $138,000 in 1988 and Boone took the money. Michael writes he sued the bank that cashed the check and they wanted to settle for $450,000. The lawsuit says Michael’s oldest sister, Deborah (who is not currently suing Mike with the rest of his siblings and dad), talked him out of taking the settlement because it would hurt Boone who had indemnified the bank against any losses. The tax return was from a cattle feeding operation Michael had run that appears to be set up by his Dad’s attorneys. And that’s only one of the explosive financial shenanigans in the suit that Michael and his Dad allegedly went through.

To back up Boone libel/defamation suit he has to show some kind of motive that his son had intent to defame him or maliciously lie about him in his blog. The second legal team Boone hired came up with an extortion claim because Michael and attorney Porterfield had private settlement negotiations about taking down the blog and giving up book and TV rights to the tell-all family story in exchange for a $20 million payment from Boone. Porterfield told me Mike estimated his dad at taken about $17 million with interest from him over his lifetime and Porterfield rounded up the number to $20 million adding in possible book/tv revenue. The problem is the extortion claim could be hard to prove on Boone’s part because as I reported earlier Michael had written his addiction ‘recovery story’ a few years back and never asked his Dad for money to take it down. Boone didn’t even notice it for a long time and it was Boone’s divorce attorney, McShane, who approached Michael for a settlement. The whole case reads like a season of the popular 80’s TV show DALLAS.

Tomorrow at 2pm in Dallas, in Texas state court attorney Porterfield and Boone’s attorney will argue if this case should be certified an anti-slap suit. Which means the suit would be considered frivolous if Boone can’t prove his defamation, libel, and extortion claim and Boone would have to pay his son’s attorney fees. Right now Porterfield isn’t getting paid by Michael because Michael can’t afford to pay Boone’s costly legal attack. Apparently Boone’s thought he’d win this whole case early because he knew his son couldn’t pay a lawyer and was taken off guard when Porterfield showed up to fight for Michael’s first amendment rights.

Instead of silencing his son, T.Boone has open a can of worms as Michael filed even more public documents about their sordid family past including a Christmas letter from Boone begging his adult kids forgiveness for kind of being a screwed up Dad. The letter written to his five kids, and signed by Boone on December 23rd 1999, was filed yesterday as exhibit 8 in Michael’s affidavit.

Boone writes, “You should know I’m taking responsibility for my part in the dysfunction of this family….This letter is to ask for your forgiveness. I am sorry for any hateful and angry words, the lack of patience, and the message of unacceptance you often felt. I know there times I left you down and I am sorry.”

Michael also stated in his affidavit that he never wrote Boone sexually abused him like Boone claimed in his suit. He does stick by his physical abuse claim because he was punished with a belt and whipped in his childhood. As far as Boone being an addict, Michael clarifies he’s talking about his father’s addiction to trade equities and commodities but also believes his Dad does drink a lot. There’s a lot more juicy family history in the counterclaim, which you can read below.

Stay tuned as we’ll see if the court rules in favor of Michael tomorrow and if Boone starts to talk real money settlement as a result. Personally I think it would be a disservice to the public if Michael’s blog was taken down as it’s a voice to addiction recovery success and also some really entertaining reading.

UPDATE 5-18-2013: Boone’s attorneys were able to convince Judge Parker that most of their claims should survive. The judge did throw out the ‘violations through harmful access by a computer’ claim. This claim related to Michael using social media and twitter to send out links to his story. His sister Pam was also trying to use it to hold Michael accountable for the group email sent to her friends and bosses at Morgan Stanley saying she was using her mother’s illness to drum up business; sent by a person calling themselves Robert Barris. What that means is Boone or Pam will have to pay Michael’s attorney fees for litigating that claim.

Boone’s suit now centers on accusations of invasion of privacy by disclosing private facts publicly, common law defamation, libel and intent to inflict emotional distress through extortion.

Judge Parker questioned if Michael speaking about what happen to his siblings at the hand of Boone can link to Michael telling a story about his addiction being a result of abuse that happen to him by his dad. Parker said in court, “If Mike Pickens wants to say his childhood experiences caused his addiction , what right does he have to tell the world private things that might have happened to his siblings? I am trying to figure out how those are not a gratuitous pile-on.”

Attorney Porterfield told Judge Parker, “To the extent the family is insulted, that’s not necessarily actionable.” Then Boone’s attorney Leland de la Garza argued just because a family controversy is interesting to the public that doesn’t make it a public issue.

It sounds like Parker wants to hear the plaintiffs, Boone and three of his kids, prove Michael’s statements about the family are not true before she throws out any more claims.

But continuing this suit in court isn’t necessarily a negative for Michael since he filed a counterclaim Boone can’t dismiss that and has to litigate all the claims his son made about this Dad taking money from him through stock transactions and other means. Boone could end up having to pay his son for those claims if the court finds them valid which is not anywhere near Boone’s goal to silence his son’s speech.

Attorney Porterfield said he will appeal Judge Parker’s decision to allow the other claims and not apply the anti-slaap law to them. So right now Boone will be throwing more big money to try to stop his son writing about the family on the blog, Michael gets to keep writing it and isn’t spending any money on legal fees to defend the suit. And if they get through the whole family’s depositions more embarrassing history will be recorded in the public record. Sounds like Boone is about to indirectly pay for all the research if someone wants to write a T.V. movie or book about the dirty details of his family.
External resource for help with addictions

Declaration of Mike Pickens

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Comments

  1. Spectre says:

    Dear T. Boone Pickens,
    Allow me to give you some free advise as a father:
    1. Give your son Michael the $20 million dollars he is asking for.
    2. Apologize for forging Michael’s name on the tax refund check of $138,000 in 1988.
    3. Apologize for being the despicable miser who stole from his own son.
    4. Apologize for all of your other disgusting swindles.
    5. Apologize for not being a proper father.
    6. Tell your children you love them.

    Note: The above interactions should not be conducted through an attorney or through a family representative or via correspondence. These interactions must be conducted by you… in person.

  2. Dear Mr.Boone,please don’t fight with your son. Parents are not perfect neither are our children. Life is full of ups/downs.No matter how hard we try,they will fall in some way.We can only do our best. Dear Michael,please don’t fight with your father.It was hard for him to get to the top.Poor people have it even harder. What some kids would do to even have a father.Many suffer hunger,all types of abuse.Yes Michael many turn to drugs/alcohol. Be an example for them,show them they can love,forgive and be love.I have a rare disease,i may not see another day soo I have to love today.

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