An heir to the Cargill family fortune told an Aspen judge Wednesday that he is being forced to retain free legal counsel as he seeks protection orders against his mother and her boyfriend, alleging that they are blocking access to his $250 million inheritance.
It was the latest legal action in a years-long, multi-state battle involving the ex-wife and descendant of the late John MacMillan III, who was the son of the founder of the giant Cargill Corp.
Andrew Cargill MacMillan, 25, a part-time Aspen resident, contends that his mother Patricia MacMillan and her boyfriend, Ciprian Emerson, hired an ex-CIA agent who threatened his life when he refused to comply with his mother’s requests.
Patricia MacMillan, a part-time resident of Old Snowmass, said recently that the allegations are untrue and that her son didn’t even write the protection order.
“I do nothing but care for Andrew,” she said.
She said that David Bovino, an Aspen attorney who is suing her in federal court, wrote the allegations and “forced” Andrew MacMillan to sign the order.
Bovino, who has worked for Andrew MacMillan, called that allegation “straight-up defamation” and said that he had read the protection orders but otherwise had nothing to do with them.
“To my knowledge, all of [the allegations] are correct and true,” he said of Andrew MacMillan’s claims.
Bovino’s federal lawsuit against Patricia MacMillan and Christina MacMillan, Andrew’s wife, says that they established a dummy email account that closely resembled the email address Bovino used for his law firm. They allegedly sent emails offering Andrew MacMillan advice on legal and financial matters that appeared to have come from Bovino.
He contends that Patricia MacMillan has also blocked him from being paid more than $400,000 for the legal work he did on behalf of Andrew MacMillan.
The handwritten allegations in the protection order say that Patricia MacMillan “had an ex-CIA agent that owes her favors threaten to kill me in the Bahamas.” Andrew MacMillan also alleges that Emerson, “whom she forces me to pay as my bodyguard and sober coach,” physically threatened him.
On Wednesday, Andrew MacMillan, speaking from Florida, told Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely that his mother’s attorneys are being paid from his trusts and said the lawyers were “knowingly working in fraud.”
Robert Kendig, an Aspen attorney representing Patricia MacMillan, and Snowmass Village attorney Lawson Wills, who is representing Emerson, both said they were filing motions to dismiss the protection order requests. The grounds include that their clients were not properly served court papers because the addresses in the protection order filings were incorrect.
Fernandez-Ely temporarily sealed the case until she rules on the attorneys’ motion to suppress the proceedings. Ryan Kalamaya, an Aspen lawyer also representing Patricia MacMillan, said the case should be sealed because mental health, finance and medical issues will arise.
Patricia MacMillan and Emerson did not attend the hearing.
When Fernandez-Ely asked Andrew MacMillan for an address so he can receive court filings, Bovino spoke up. He told Fernandez-Ely that he was there as an observer and that he had represented Andrew MacMillan in the past. Bovino said sending mail to Andrew MacMillan is complicated by the alleged actions of Patricia MacMillan and Christina MacMillan, and recounted the email issue over which he has sued.
Wills objected, saying Bovino was “either an observer or an attorney.” Fernandez-Ely at one point told Andrew MacMillan not to threaten the attorneys, who he said were lying and “would never work again.”
Andrew MacMillan said he planned on retaining Alpine Legal Services, a valley nonprofit agency that provides legal assistance for low-income individuals.
Fernandez-Ely set the next court date for Feb. 26.