Second Fund Manager Seeks ‘Withheld’ Bonuses From Touradji

Jan 28 2009 | 2:08am ET

A second former Touradji Capital Management fund manager is accusing the commodities hedge fund shop of withholding bonuses.

Robert Vollero, who joined the $3.5 billion New York firm in 2005 alongside Gentry Beach, has now joined Beach’s lawsuit against the firm. Beach sued Touradji in December, alleging that it had withheld $23 million in bonuses. Vollero’s claim brings the total amount allegedly owed by Touradji to $50 million.

Vollero alleges that Touradji tried to bully him into writing investors to defend the firm against Beach’s lawsuit, threatening to withhold his bonus if he didn’t. After two days of “increasingly hostile” discussions with the firm last month, Vollero says he resigned. Beach and Vollero worked together at Solstice Equity Management before joining Touradji, where they co-managed several funds.

Touradji has vehemently denied owing either man anything. In fact, the hedge fund claims it is the wronged party.

“Gentry Beach and Rob Vollero were paid extremely well; in fact, too well considering their respective contributions,” Fraser Seitel, a Touradji spokesman, told Bloomberg News. “In fact, it is Beach and Vollero who owe Touradji Capital money. Both men borrowed money from Touradji Capital in order to participate in an investment that they oversaw and that ultimately cost Touradji Capital. Neither man has repaid his loan to the firm, and we believe their lawsuit is nothing more than an effort to avoid paying these debts.”

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