Cook County Record

Monday, November 18, 2019

'Country Buck$' star 'Big Bill' Busbice says lawyers missed warning signs before fake films duped him for $11M


By Scott Holland | Oct 23, 2019

Busbice bill
"Country Buck$" reality TV series star "Big Bill" Busbice | Youtube screenshot

CHICAGO — A Wyoming reality television star, hunting enthusiast and patriarch of the family featured on A&E's "Country Buck$" TV series, is suing a Chicago law firm and three lawyers, alleging they did not prevent him from investing $11 million on fake film projects.

Bill Busbice Jr. filed his complaint Oct. 16 in Cook County Circuit Court, listing as co-plaintiffs two Louisiana limited liability corporations he owns, Ollawood Productions and Ecibsub. Busbice and his companies are represented by JPG Law, of Rolling Meadows. 

Defendants named in the lawsuit include the Troutman Sanders firm, which has offices in Chicago, New York and Irvine, Calif., among other locations, and lawyers Robert Browne Jr., Michael Friedman and Paul Gale, who work in those cities.

Busbice said the alleged scheme began in April 2013 when someone representing themselves as a movie insider who had already personally invested millions on a project but needed more capital asked him to invest. He said three of those supposed insiders have pleaded guilty to crimes associated with the plan.

In October 2013, after he had already invested in three films, Busbice claimed he retained Troutman Sanders based on entertainment business expertise. The firm assigned Friedman, who allegedly relied on false bank information — including a screenshot — intended to prove the projects had other investors.

Both Friedman and the firm, Busbice alleged, “negligently failed to recognize the discrepancy in the fraudulent bank statement, failed to request actual bank statements and failed to contact the bank to verify funds.” Relying on the legal advice, Busbice said he put an additional $6 million into the projects and did not learn they were a sham until the following spring.

Troutman Sanders represented Busbice in a Calfornia fraud case that resulted in judgments against the conspirators, but Busbice said he “collected only a fraction” of his investments. A second case was transferred from California to federal court in Chicago but Busbice lost that case and the firm charged him a six-figure legal bill.

Busbice said Troutman Sanders withheld from him the legal significance of the bank account screenshot, which kept him from learning of Friedman’s inability to detect an obvious discrepancy and fraud, and that the failure to adequately communicate fact sto him constituted a breach of duty.

In addition to damages of more than $50,000, Busbice seeks a jury trial, court costs and other relief.

At the time of publication, neither any of the named defendants nor the Troutman Sanders firm had responded to an email message from the Cook County Record seeking comment.

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