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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tatum Issues Bonds to Finance Court Case

Paul Tatum wants you -- yes, you! -- to finance his fight for freedom.


The embattled American entrepreneur is trying to sell up to $1 million in "freedom bonds" offering a 100 percent return to help fund legal expenses for a court case now under way in Stockholm against his joint venture partners in the Radisson Slavjanskaya complex.


The bond offering is only the latest salvo in a bitter and public five-year battle among three partners in a joint venture that controls a long-term lease on the prestigious 430-room hotel and the adjacent Americom Business Center near Kievsky Station.


The partners, the Moscow City Property Committee and Radisson Hotels International, which together have 60 percent of the joint venture, have combined to drive out Tatum's Americom from the management of the business center.


The battle has proceeded by fair means and foul. Tatum has holed himself up in his office, and his erstwhile partners have tried to eject him from the premises by force.


A Stockholm arbitration court has just started considering a case to decide who is right. But Tatum says he needs the public's support. "In the absence of your funding support, this case will default without a proper hearing or the chance for due process to effectuate a legitimate and fair outcome," Tatum said in a statement.


Tatum is billing his borrowing drive as akin to war bonds -- but in a battle he is waging in the name of shareholders' rights, the rule of Russian business law and the freedom to safely invest in Russia. He claims Radisson and the Moscow city government used the confusion of Russia's corporate laws to drive his management company out of business.


"I thought we'd sell bonds that allow us to fight for the right to freedom of investments, safety in investments and investors' rights. Not just for us, but hopefully for the next trouble that comes along," Tatum said in an interview at his well-guarded office on the seventh-floor of the Radisson hotel.


Radisson and Moscow city additional deposit of $90,000 [for witness and other legal costs]. The other side has paid, and we ran out of money."


But in total, Americom's case requires an immediate cash infusion of a minimum $500,000.


Tatum's Americom is seeking $39 million in damage awards in the arbitration, $2 million of which he contends will be set aside to pay a 100 percent return on $1 million of "Freedom Bonds" issued.


The six-month bonds, available in denominations of as little as $50 and as much as $50,000, will mature April 2, 1997.


"My birthday," Tatum said. "What better date?" He declined to say to what age he would mature April 2.


Any money left over after all bondholders have been paid will be placed in a defense fund for other "cases of discrimination [where] companies have invested their funds only to have them exhausted by the machinations of an unscrupulous market participant or partner in a clearly legally disputable situation," Tatum said in a statement.


"Freedom Bonds" are backed by 100 percent of the assets of Americom and ownership interests in another company called SpaceCom. Tatum said a local, unnamed financial firm valued the total assets of Americom, including the potential damage awards and the future value of company after a 10 percent discount factor, at $38 million. Including Spacecom, that figure is roughly $41 million.


"Freedom Bonds" will be redeemable only in the case of an award delivered in Stockholm and executed under the Russian court system, or in an outside settlement and full dismissal of the case.


Contributions, he said, are strictly confidential. "You can vote for the good guys, stay anonymous and get rewarded for your support," he chimed.


And if Americom loses?


"There will still be some company assets, some value left over, some buyout value, some settlement, something somewhere," he said.


"So there will still be a minimum of several million dollars value left in the company."


The court case began last week, and currently arguments are focused on whether the Moscow city government is legally entitled to the 50 percent stake it claims in the joint venture.