Gulf Stream billionaire, accused war-profiteer and one-time formidable GOP fundraiser Harry Sargeant III has fired back at his family, accusing his brothers and father of siphoning millions from the fuel transportation empire he claims he built.
About two months after his brother filed suit against him for allegedly diverting millions from family-owned businesses to fund his lavish lifestyle, Sargeant retaliated by filing a lawsuit of his own.
In the lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, he accuses his father, Harry Sargeant Jr. and his brothers, Daniel and James, of funneling millions of dollars, equipment, employees and clients of Sargeant Trading Ltd. and turning it over to a Swiss corporation they created.
They did so, he claims, after he questioned “out of control expenditures and misappropriation of funds” at the firm that transports asphalt, fuel and other petroleum-based products worldwide.
He claims his brother Daniel, of Boca Raton, used $6.5 million to help his sons pursue their love of race car driving. Daniel Sargeant also blew company money on motorcycles, airboats, a video arcade and a dance floor, the suit says.
Attorney Charles Lichtman, who represents Daniel Sargeant, scoffed at Harry’s allegations. “That’s his best shot?” he asked. “We’ll send him a glass of spilled milk.”
In the lawsuit he filed on Daniel Sargeant’s behalf, Lichtman accuses Harry Sargeant III of similar misdeeds. He squandered the assets of another family company — IOTC Asphalt LLC — on a $7.5 million house, three private jets, exotic cars and a fire truck. Further, Lichtman claims, Sargeant’s ill-advised decisions resulted in $22 million and $28.8 million judgments against the company.
The latter judgment came in 2011 after a Palm Beach County jury found he cut a former business partner, the brother-in-law of the king of Jordan, out of profits from a $2.7 billion U.S. Defense Department contract to deliver fuel to troops in Iraq.
The cost of the contract prompted one lawmaker to accuse Sargeant of war-profiteering — an accusation the 55-year-old former U.S. Marine denied.
Attorney Christopher Kise, who represents Harry Sargeant III, said his client never wanted the family feud to become public. When his brother fired his legal salvo, Sargeant felt he had to respond in kind.
“He certainly remains hopeful that cooler heads will prevail and there will be an opportunity to resolve this,” he said.