Bonus Lawsuit Against Touradji Is Back

Jul 5 2011 | 12:48pm ET

Touradji Capital Management will have to defend itself against allegations that it withheld more than $50 million in bonuses from two former employees, a New York appeals court has ruled.

The court found that a lower court judge should not have dismissed three claims against the commodities hedge fund in 2009. Gentry Beach sued the firm in December 2008, accusing it of withholding $23 million, or three years' worth of bonuses. A month later, Robert Vollero joined the action, alleging that Touradji tried to bully him into writing to investors to defend the firm against Beach's lawsuit, holding his own bonus hostage until he did so.

Touradji later in 2009 countersued the two men, alleging that they were "responsible for the destruction of millions of dollars of investor capital through a pattern of fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, mismanagement and utter disregard for the interests of the investors." The hedge fund also sued Beach's father, Gary, who had previously sued the firm for undermining a joint venture between them.

The appeals court reinstated claims of unjust enrichment and violation of labor laws.

A lawyer for Touradji, Sean O'Brien, dismissed the court defeat as a "technical ruling" in an interview with Bloomberg News.

"These are claims which we are confident will ultimately be dismissed."

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