Legal Matters

‘Coming Unraveled’

by Walter Pierce

Kendall Mosing, a scion of the Frank’s International family, seeks $79.5 million in a biz deal gone sour.

[Editor's Note: The pirnt version of this story identified Kendall Mosing as the defendant in the suit; he is the plaintiff. This online story has been corrected to reflect that.]

A member of the family that controls the international oil-services company Frank’s International is suing a pair of former out-of-state business associates for nearly $80 million dollars alleging he was duped by the former associates into making substantial loans and investments in franchises in their e-waste recycling company beginning in 2012.

Kendall Mosing is the plaintiff in the suit against Robert Boston and Robert LaBarge and their company, Zloop. The company collects broken, obsolete or otherwise discarded electronic equipment, such as computers and televisions, and mines them for valuable metals and other byproducts. Mosing purchased three Louisiana and eight Texas franchises with the company.

Mosing is seeking just under $26.5 million in actual damages, but he cites the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act in seeking three times the actual damages against Boston and LaBarge.

Mosing alleges in the suit that over a roughly 18-month period beginning in September 2012, LaBarge and Boston used subterfuge, accounting sleight-of-hand and other illegal business practices to lure Mosing into making repeated loans and investments in the company, including the purchase of the Zloop franchises in Louisiana and Texas.

According to the suit: “LaBarge met a close friend and trusted advisor of Kendall Mosing, Jim Janes, in South Louisiana at Port Fourchon in August of 2011. ...As a result of that relationship, Jim Janes eventually introduced Kendall Mosing to LaBarge and Boston. Kendall Mosing perceived Jim Janes as a father figure and often sought and listened to Jim Janes’ advice...”

Kendall Mosing

The suit, filed in federal court in Lafayette and more than 100 pages in length, details what Mosing alleges was a pattern of “high pressure sales tactics, promises of security interests and back dated documents” used to induce Mosing into purchasing Zloop securities, buying into franchises and extending loans to the Delaware-registered company. A typical loan made by Mosing to Zloop was $2 million to $3 million.

Dozens of motions have been filed in the case since it was initiated in fall of 2014, including a so-far unsuccessful attempt to transfer the suit to North Carolina where LaBarge and Boston are residents. The case has also gotten ugly at times, with Mosing at one point accusing the defendants of trying to sell a 20 percent stake in the company to “an offshore investment fund in Belize.” That would have been counter to a so-called “stand down” agreement in which the defendants agreed to leave alone the company’s assets in case in which Mosing prevailed in court. The defendants answered Mosing’s claim in a counter motion, arguing that “plaintiff’s motion is premised on nothing more than innuendo and vague suggestions of wrongdoing that are whole lacking in evidentiary support.” The defendants even filed a motion seeking judicial sanctions against Mosing’s legal counsel related to the Belize accusation but later withdrew it.

Exhibits entered into the court record attendant to the suit paint Zloop as a company circling the financial drain in the months leading up to the court action. Those include emails directly between Boston and Mosing’s mentor, Janes.

In a May 9, 2013, email from Boston to Janes, the former writes, “I have asked a couple of franchise owners if they could make a payment or two on there [sic] outstanding bills even though we’re not operational. Do you think it is appropriate to ask Kendall if he could pay a couple of his? I [sic] you don’t think it is a Good idea obviously I won’t. Just trying to make payroll.”

In a July email that same year, Boston again writes to Janes, “... we are completely out of money and I cannot work the employees any longer with no definition of when I can pay them,” followed three days later by the terse, ominous, “FYI, Things are coming unraveled.”

It’s unclear whether Kendall Mosing, a grandson of Frank’s International founder Frank Mosing, still works for the oilfield services giant, though ABiz did find a 2013 newsletter congratulating him on 31 years with the company. “As a matter of personal data privacy, we do not disclose who may or may not be employed by the company,” Frank’s International spokesman Josh Grodin says in an emailed response.

Attorneys for neither Mosing nor the defendants could be reached for this story.