Aspen attorney eyes $3 million settlement in Cargill case | AspenTimes.com

Aspen attorney eyes $3 million settlement in Cargill case

An Aspen attorney stands to collect $3 million as part of a settlement agreement in a contentious lawsuit regarding the Cargill agribusiness fortune.

That's according to motions filed in the U.S. District Court in Denver, where lawyer David Bovino is suing Old Snowmass homeowner Patricia MacMillan and her daughter-in-law Christina MacMillan. Bovino's lawsuit says the two plotted to tarnish his reputation while severing him from client Andrew Cargill MacMillan.

Andrew MacMillan is the son of Patricia MacMillan, the ex-wife of John MacMillan III. Christina MacMillan is Andrew MacMillan's wife.

If the settlement is formalized, the parties won't go to trial next year as previously reported.

Settlement discussions have been ongoing as the parties reached a tentative agreement in April. But further discussions failed, and on Sept. 30, District Judge Philip Brimmer set a trial for Feb. 25 in the U.S. District Court of Denver.

A "motion to enforce settlement agreement," filed by Bovino's attorneys Sept. 29 and made public Oct. 17, says that the deal has been modified "increasing the amount of the settlement to $3 million and the interest rate to 8 percent."

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On Wednesday, the defendants' attorneys field a motion in support of the deal. "There is no question that the parties have entered into a settlement agreement," the motion said. The motion, however, also said that as recently as a Sept. 17 settlement discussion, "David Bovino walked out of the conference stating, 'this deal is killed.'"

A number of other aspects of the pending agreement have been removed from the court record. Nearly eight pages of Bovino's Oct. 17 motion were redacted, and on Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty signed an order restricting access to certain documents in the case.

Attorneys for both sides did not return telephone messages left Thursday and Friday.

The agreement comes after Bovino originally filed suit against Patricia MacMillan in Pitkin County District Court in May 2011; the suit was transferred to Denver's federal court in March 2012 and Christina MacMillan was added to the complaint.

The suit claims that Bovino was Andrew MacMillan's attorney in his dispute with his mother, Patricia, over his multimillion-dollar trust fund that was left behind by his non-biological father, John MacMillan III, ranked by Forbes in 2006 as the world's 645th richest person. MacMillan III, who died in 2008, is the great grandson of the founder of Cargill Inc., the largest privately held company in the U.S.

Bovino alleges that both MacMillans intercepted Andrew MacMillan's email exchanges with Bovino. The emails pertained to Andrew's wanting to remove the trust fund from under the control of the Swiss bank UBS. Bovino also alleges that on Oct. 1, 2013, a private investigator visited Bovino in Aspen and threatened to have him killed if he repeated the nature of their conversation.

"In the words of Christina, the only thing that concerned her was Bovino," Bovino's attorneys claim. "And in the words of (UBS attorney Timothy) Kelly, echoing that concern, the real issue was not Andrew's well-being but rather, 'winning the Battle of Bovino.' The 'Battle of Bovino' consisted in UBS, along with defendants Christina and Patricia, engaged in a relentless character assassination of Bovino, among each other, lawyers in this litigation and among Bovino's friends, clients and strangers in his hometown of Aspen, where he lives and practices law. The goal was to hang onto control of Andrew and his money by ending his relationship, both personally and professionally, with Bovino."

rcarroll@aspentimes.com