Heir to Cargill wants lawsuit against mother in PitCo dismissed (CO/FL)

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The mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., appointed by a judge in the Sunshine State to represent a man who is suing his mother in Pitkin County District Court, says in a court filing that his ward now wants the lawsuit dismissed.

John Seiler, who also is an attorney, was appointed in September 2011 by a Broward County probate judge to represent Andrew MacMillan. MacMillan was arrested on charges of domestic violence and resisting a police officer last February, and then found to be incompetent to stand trial for medical and mental health reasons, leading to Seiler’s guardian appointment.

MacMillan, the son of the late John MacMillan III, is an apparent heir to the MacMillan family fortune derived from the giant Cargill Corp.

This past May, he and his attorney, David Bovino of Aspen, sued MacMillan’s mother, Patricia, a part-time resident of Old Snowmass. Their lawsuit alleges that Patricia MacMillan and others set up an email account called bovinolaw.net to mimic Bovino’s bovinolaw.com address.

The dummy account was allegedly used to allow Patricia MacMillan access to her son’s $250 million trust fund through fraudulent emails that appeared as though they were coming from Bovino to Andrew MacMillan. The plaintiffs allege about $3 million was diverted from “several trusts administered by corporate trustees” in this way.

The lawsuit’s claims are: invasion of privacy; intentional interference with prospective business advantage; civil conspiracy; violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act; violation of the Wiretap Act and violation of the Stored Communications Act.

Patricia MacMillan has denied the allegations through her attorneys with Aspen law firm Garfield & Hecht.

Seiler, in his Dec. 15 guardian report and recommendation to the Florida probate court, says Bovino recently “sent to Patricia MacMillan a settlement demand regarding this lawsuit in the amount of $1.5 million.”

Asked about the alleged demand, Bovino declined comment.

Seiler’s report also says that on July 14, 2011, one day after Andrew MacMillan filed a petition saying he wanted his mother to be appointed as limited guardian of his property, Bovino filed an objection to that appointment.

The probate judge, who approved Patricia MacMillan’s appointment, struck Bovino’s objection the same day “as the unauthorized practice of law,” according to Seiler’s report. Bovino allegedly is not licensed as an attorney in Florida.

As a limited guardian, one of the “specific rights delegated to Patricia MacMillan was to sue and defend lawsuits on behalf of Andrew MacMillan,” Seiler wrote.

Spencer Crona, one of the attorneys for Bovino and Andrew MacMillan, wrote that her appointment “vividly reveals her conflict of interest in seeking, through her Florida guardianship authority, to orchestrate a self-serving dismissal” of the Pitkin County lawsuit.

But in August, Andrew MacMillan filed an affidavit “expressing his desire to dismiss with prejudice the Colorado lawsuit,” Seiler’s report says. “With prejudice” means the case, if it is dismissed, could not be refiled based on the same claims.

Seiler wrote that “it appears evident that Andrew MacMillan may have been misled, misguided, misrepresented, taken advantage of, or exploited by” Bovino and that Andrew MacMillan has since terminated his relationship with the Aspen attorney. Bovino also declined comment when asked about these allegations.

Seiler said he believes “it would be in the best interest of Andrew MacMillan to dismiss the Colorado lawsuit” against Patricia MacMillan.

Seiler said Monday that he did not know the MacMillan family before he was appointed guardian and that the appointment had “absolutely nothing” to do with him being mayor.

“I get appointed in a lot of cases,” he said, adding that he has an active law practice. “I think it was because the judge thought I could do a good job.”

The case in Pitkin County District Court remains on pace for a trial in October.

Attribution:

Heir to Cargill wants lawsuit against mother in PitCo dismissed
Chad Abraham
January 17, 2012
Aspen Daily News
http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/151285

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