DENVER — An heir to the Cargill agribusiness fortune and his multimillion-dollar trust fund are at the center of a court battle between a Colorado attorney and the Swiss bank UBS over allegedly pirated emails and accusations of a smear campaign.
Aspen attorney David Bovino filed suit in Denver federal court alleging UBS subsidiaries and others tried to undermine his law practice and cut him off from his former client, Andrew Cargill MacMillan, because MacMillan was unhappy with UBS’ management of his trust fund and wanted to find another company to handle it.
Bovino alleges his business and reputation were attacked because UBS didn’t want to lose the profits from managing McMillan’s trust fund and that MacMillan’s mother and his wife and another attorney didn’t want to lose access to the money.
“The goal was to hang onto control of Andrew and his money by ending his relationship, both personally and professionally, with Bovino,” the suit says.
MacMillan, who is about 26 years old and is described by the lawsuit as mentally ill, is not a party to Bovino’s lawsuit. David Berg, an attorney representing Bovino, said MacMillan’s trust fund is worth between $180 million and $250 million.
Defendants are UBS Trust Co. and UBS Financial Services; Patricia A. MacMillan, Andrew MacMillan’s mother; Christina MacMillan, his wife; and Timothy Kelly, a Minneapolis attorney for Christina MacMillan.
In a written release, UBS said it “handled the account relationship appropriately and intends to vigorously defend against this meritless motion.”
Kelley and another attorney for Christina MacMillan declined to comment. An attorney for Patricia MacMillan did not immediately respond to phone call.
Andrew MacMillan’s current attorney was not immediately available for comment, his office said Tuesday. MacMillan has been committed to a mental institution in Florida, and a Florida judge appointed Patricia and Christina MacMillan as his guardians in March, the suit says.
The 67-page lawsuit was made public last week. It says MacMillan — whose mother owns a house in the Aspen area — hired Bovino in 2010.
The trust fund was established by John H. MacMillan III, Patricia MacMillan’s ex-husband and great-grandson of the founder of Cargill Inc. John MacMillan was not Andrew’s biological father but treated him as a son, the suit says.
The lawsuit alleges Christina MacMillan hacked into her husband’s email account, read confidential emails from Bovino to her husband and forwarded them to UBS and to Christina MacMillan. Many of those emails discussed moving the trust fund away from UBS, the suit says.
The suit also alleges Christina MacMillan intercepted some of Bovino’s emails to her husband, deleted the originals and then sent modified versions to her husband from a fake account disguised to look like Bovino’s. That way, she would see her husband’s replies, not Bovino, the suit says.
The suit alleges Patricia MacMillan sent UBS emails demanding money from her son’s trust fund. It says she had no income, although she received the home in Aspen and another in Florida in her divorce from John MacMillan III. In 2010, UBS was giving half of Andrew MacMillan’s $10,000-a-month living allowance to her, the suit says.
UBS looked for “dirt” on Bovino to discredit him, and Patricia MacMillan hired a private investigator who spread false rumors in Aspen that Bovino used drugs, the suit says.
Kelly filed a grievance against Bovino with Colorado officials alleging he had improper influence over Andrew MacMillan. State officials did not discipline Bovino, the suit says.
The suit seeks unspecified damages. No trial date has been set.
Lawsuit alleges scheme to benefit from trust fund
Dan Elliott/Associated Press
December 10, 2013