$2 million payout over ethanol deal
A jury has ordered an Irish investor to pay $2 million in damages to an Iowa, US, doctor who was eliminated from an ethanol development in eastern Europe.
Branimir Catipovic, a doctor at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa, claimed unjust enrichment against Mark Turley, which was proven following a long civil trial. Catipovic's claim of breach of contract was rejected.
After moving to the US, Catipovic became interested in the ethanol business and explored the idea of building large plants in eastern Europe.
He began working with industry expert Walt Wendland, who ran an ethanol plant in Mason City, to establish a business plan. Catipovic intended to use US technology and builder Roland Fagen.
In 2007, Catipovic approached Turley with the plans and he vowed to invest $40 million for an 80% share. Catipovic and Wendland would each own 10%.
The first plant was due to be built in Osijek, Croatia.
Turley sought to modify the terms of the agreement, and construction on the plant eventually did not go ahead.
Turley and Roland Fagen then built a $200 million plant in Hungary without Catipovic or Wendland.
In 2011, Catipovic filed a lawsuit in federal court in against both Turley and Fagen for unjust enrichment and breach of contract. The claims against Fagen were dropped before the case came to trial, but it is unknown whether an out-of-court settlement was agreed.
Turley claimed the federal court did not have jurisdiction because he is an Irish citizen. This claim was rejected in 2012.