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Entries in BP Oil Spill (5)

Thursday
Jun142012

Kevin Costner Wins Courtroom Battle over Stephen Baldwin

Charley Gallay/WireImage(NEW ORLEANS) -- In the New Orleans courtroom clash of Hollywood actors, Kevin Costner is the winner.

A federal jury Thursday evening rejected a claim by the actor Stephen Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris, that Costner and a business partner duped them by keeping them uninformed on a multimillion-dollar deal between Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, and the oil company BP.

Baldwin, the youngest of the four acting Baldwin brothers, and Contogouris sold their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions before it sold cleanup devices to BP for use in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This led Baldwin to file a suit in December 2010 against Costner and Patrick Smith, over profits from the technology leased by BP.

Costner's device is a five-ton centrifuge designed to separate water from oil, spit out clean water and save the oil on ships, Smith said in his testimony.

The timeline of the case goes as far back as the production for Costner's film Waterworld. Costner starred and co-directed the science-fiction film, which tanked at the box office when it was released in 1995.

In the early 1990s, Costner financed and oversaw the development of an oil-and-water-separation technology under the auspices of a corporation owned and managed by him called CINC Inc., an acronym for Costner in Nevada Corporation.

After the April 2010 oil spill, Costner made headlines again marketing his device and snagging a $52 million deal with BP for 32 of his centrifuges.

"It separates oil and water at incredibly high speeds under very difficult conditions," Costner told Good Morning America's Sam Champion in 2010.

The devices weren't used to cap the well but were designed to collect oil on the water's surface.

Baldwin has said he was bought out of Costner's company for $500,000 while Contogouris was bought out for $1.4 million.

BP reportedly never used the 32 devices it ordered from Costner's company, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. By September 2010, the well had been sealed with cement and a relief well.

Costner's memorable work includes starring in The Bodyguard, Dancing with Wolves and Field of Dreams. Baldwin, the younger brother of actor Alec Baldwin, is best known for Bio-Dome and playing Barney Rubble in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun082012

Kevin Costner Downplays Stephen Baldwin's Hand in Oil Cleanup

Charley Gallay/WireImage(NEW ORLEANS) -- Kevin Costner testified in a New Orleans court Friday that he never saw actor Stephen Baldwin contribute anything to his company's effort to sell oil cleanup devices to BP in the aftermath of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Costner is being sued by Baldwin, who claims he and his business partner were duped out of money in a multimillion-dollar deal for the devices between Costner's company and BP.

Costner took the stand at 10 a.m. Friday and said he wondered what Baldwin was doing for the company before BP agreed to make an $18 million deposit on a $52 million order for 32 oil-separating centrifuges. He also said the company's CEO begged Baldwin and his business partner, Spyridon Contogouris, not to sell their shares before the deal was done, which is contrary to the claims brought in Baldwin's lawsuit.

Friday's testimony followed a tense Thursday in court when the "Waterworld" and "Field of Dreams" star told the court he went to New Orleans after the spill on a "fact-finding mission" to see if the oil-separating centrifuges he helped develop could be of any use in the cleanup. At the height of the oil spill cleanup effort, BP bought 32 of the devices for $18 million.

The lawsuit brought by Baldwin alleges that Baldwin and his friend were deliberately excluded from the meeting between Costner, his business partner Patrick Smith, and BP executive Doug Suttles where the lucrative deal was struck.

Baldwin and Contogouris say they were deceived into letting go of their shares in the new company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, one day before that deal was finalized. They're seeking more than $21 million in damages.

Costner's attorney has argued the actor had no role in Baldwin and Contogouris' decision to sell their shares, and that he's being sued because he's famous.

There have been several tense moments during the prosecution's questioning of Costner. When Baldwin's attorney, James Cobb, questioned Costner Thursday about whether his celebrity would pressure the oil giant to order his centrifugal machines, Costner countered that he didn't feel the company would buy them just because of him. He admitted he was on the company's radar, but said it was a huge crisis and it was never his intention to use his celebrity to sell the product.

"I'm not just a celebrity," Costner told the court Thursday. "I'm not just a person who opens doors."

At another point, Cobb pressed Costner for an answer about whether or not his business partner is authorized to speak on his behalf. Costner struck back.

"I don't do very well when you get very loud," he said to Cobb. "I'm trying to remember as much as I can."

He said he was nervous and his name was at stake in the trial.

Costner has been involved with the development centrifugal device, dubbed the "Costner solution," for more than 15 years. He previously claimed the machine would "give us a fighting chance to fight back the oil before it got us by the throat."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun072012

Kevin Costner Testifies in Stephen Baldwin's BP Oil Spill Suit

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW ORLEANS) -- During a tense day in court, actor Kevin Costner testified he was heartbroken by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and he had hoped a device he helped develop could aid the cleanup efforts.

Now, he's being sued by fellow actor Stephen Baldwin, who claims he was duped out of money in a multimillion-dollar deal for the devices between Costner's company and BP.

Costner took the stand for about an hour in a packed New Orleans courtroom, sitting just a few feet away from Baldwin, although the two never made eye contact.

The first day of questioning focused largely on Costner's background in the science and technology business. The Waterworld and Field of Dreams star told the court he went to New Orleans after the spill on a "fact-finding mission" to see if the device he helped develop could be of any help in the cleanup. At the height of the oil spill cleanup effort, BP bought 32 of the devices for $18 million.

The lawsuit brought by Stephen Baldwin alleges Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris, were deliberately excluded from the meeting between Costner, his business partner Patrick Smith, and BP executive Doug Suttles where the incredibly lucrative deal was struck.

Baldwin and Contogouris say they were deceived into letting go of their shares in the new company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, one day before that deal was finalized. They're seeking more than $21 million in damages.

Costner's attorney argues the actor had no role in Baldwin and Contogouris' decision to sell their shares, and that he's only being sued because he's famous.

There were several tense moments during the prosecution's questioning of Costner. When Baldwin's attorney, James Cobb, questioned Costner about whether his celebrity would pressure the oil giant to order his centrifugal machines, Costner countered that he didn't feel the company would buy them just because of him. He admitted he was on the company's radar, but said it was a huge crisis and it was never his intention to use his celebrity to sell the product.

"I'm not just a celebrity," Costner told the court. "I'm not just a person who opens doors."

At another point, Cobb pressed Costner for an answer about whether or not his business partner is authorized to speak on his behalf. Costner struck back.

"I don't do very well when you get very loud," he said to Cobb. "I'm trying to remember as much as I can."

He said he was nervous and his name was at stake in the trial.

Costner has been involved with the development centrifugal device, dubbed the "Costner solution," at the center of the trial for more than 15 years. He previously claimed the machine would "give us a fighting chance to fight back the oil before it got us by the throat."

There was a brief moment of levity during testimony when Costner described the oil-and-water separating device. He noted its large size and equated the footprint to the witness box, which he called a "jail." That elicited a laugh from the courtroom.

Costner is scheduled to take the stand again at 10 a.m. ET Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun072012

Kevin Costner to Testify in Stephen Baldwin Suit

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW ORLEANS) -- Kevin Costner, the Academy Award winner who starred in Dances With Wolves and Hatfields & McCoys, may testify as early as Thursday in a Louisiana court in response to a suit filed by fellow-actor Stephen Baldwin.

Baldwin, the youngest of the four acting Baldwin brothers, filed a suit in December 2010 against Costner and his business partner, Patrick Smith, over profits from a technology that BP leased for the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The actors' trial proceedings take place daily this week and are expected to last two weeks.  Smith, the trial's first witness, testified for two hours on Monday and eight hours on Tuesday.

Costner's device is a five-ton centrifuge designed to separate water from oil, spit out clean water and save the oil, Smith said in his testimony this week.  The two seeked to place the centrifuges on ships.

The timeline of the case goes as far back as the production for Costner's film, Waterworld.  Costner starred and co-directed the science-fiction film, which tanked at the box office when it was released in 1995.

In the early 1990s, Costner financed and oversaw the development of an oil and water separation technology under the auspices of a corporation owned and managed by him called CINC Inc., which stands for "Costner in Nevada Corporation."

After the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, Costner made headlines again marketing his device and snagging a $52 million deal with BP for 32 of his centrifuges.

"It separates oil and water at incredibly high speeds under very difficult conditions," Costner told ABC's Good Morning America's Sam Champion in 2010.

The devices weren't used to cap the well but were designed to collect oil on the water's surface.

Joining Baldwin in the lawsuit is Spyridon Contogouris, described as a hedge fund consultant and having "been friends for many years" in a court filing.  The two seek more than $21 million in damages against Costner, Smith and their company, WestPac, for duping them into selling their shares in the company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, before making the $52 million deal with BP.

Baldwin says he was bought out of Costner's company for $500,000 while Contogouris was bought out for $1.4 million.

BP reportedly never used the 32 devices it ordered from Costner's company, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.  By September 2010, the well was eventually sealed with cement and a relief well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec142010

Top FAILS of the Year: Justin Bieber, BP Oil Spill

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(SEATTLE) -- Teen idol Justin Bieber has received a lot of accolades, but he may not be so quick to boast about the latest. 

The FAIL blog, the Internet's bastion of blunders and embarrassments, today released its second annual lists of the year's top 10 most memorable embarassing people, moments and videos, and crowned Bieber the "Prince of FAIL in 2010."

With 44 percent of the vote, Bieber won the title by a landslide, beating both reality star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and embattled golfer Tiger Woods for the top spot on the list of the most memorable FAIL people. He takes the crown from singer Kanye West, who, last year, was anointed "King of FAIL" for upstaging Taylor Swift at MTV's Video Music Awards.

Since 2008, the FAIL blog has paid close attention to real-life goofs and gaffes, posting videos and photos of corporate embarrassments, political faux pas and personal screw-ups.

"We tend to celebrate some of our best, but some of our worst can be just as enlightening," said Ben Huh, CEO of the Cheezburger Network, which runs dozens of Internet humor sites, including the FAIL blog.

To create the lists of the year's "failiest" antics, the FAIL blog's editorial team generates a list of 30 entries for each category and then asks the blog's community to vote on their favorites. In this year's competition for the worst of the worst, Huh said more than 190,000 votes were cast.

The BP Oil Spill took the number one spot on the list of the year's top FAIL moments, followed by "Jessi Slaughter's Dad Goes Ballistic." Eleven-year-old Slaughter became a target of Internet trolls after posting a profanity-peppered video to the Internet.

The "failiest" video of the year? A wince-worthy clip of a woman who takes a giant watermelon in the face when a slingshot backfires during an Amazing Race challenge.

It's painful to watch, but fits the blog's definition of "fail" to a T.

"The vernacular definition of fail is when somebody attempts to be great at something, somebody attempts to succeed at something and doesn't make it," Huh said.

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Radio







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