One of the key questions in the lawsuit filed against Nasser Kazeminy, a close friend and supporter of Minnesota Republican senator Norm Coleman, relates to the nature of the work done by Coleman's wife Laurie for the Hays Companies.
And on that score, there seems to be a noteworthy amount of confusion among the principles.
Let's back up. The suit, filed late last month in Texas by the former CEO of Deep Marine Technologies, alleges in part that Kazeminy set up a scheme to pass money from DMT, which he owns, to Coleman, through the Hays Companies, a Minneapolis-based insurance broker. The suit claims that Laurie Coleman received $75,000 from Hays, without performing legitimate work for the company, and that these payments were an effort by Kazeminy to get money to Norm Coleman.
The senator -- who faces a recount in his reelection race against Democrat Al Franken -- has denied the allegations. And Hays Companies, in a statement issued after the suit was made public, called them "libelous and defamatory."
But are the two on different pages as to the nature of Laurie Coleman's relationship with Hays?
In that statement, Hays declared that Laurie Coleman "has been an Independent Contractor for Hays Companies since 2006," without elaborating as to the nature of her work for Hays.
But on his Senate disclosure forms for 2006 and 2007, Norm Coleman explicitly lists the type of income that his wife received from Hays as "salary" -- which by definition would render Laurie Coleman an employee, rather than an independent contractor.
Of course, Norm Coleman may simply have been imprecise in filling out the disclosure form and used "salary" as shorthand for compensation. But it's a discrepancy that would be worth resolving.
Calls by TPMmuckraker to Norm Coleman's campaign and Senate offices, and to a lawyer for the Hays Companies who has been handling questions on the lawsuit, were not immediately returned.