An attorney for Michael Goguen said Friday the Whitefish philanthropist and Two Bear Air benefactor is "pleased" to see extortion charges brought against a California man indicted in federal court last month.
Earlier this week, the Missoulian reported Goguen's name alongside the moniker "Businessman 1," the alleged victim federal prosecutors say has been the subject of a years-long extortion effort by Bryan Gregg Waterfield Nash. Court records from a California civil lawsuit, in which Amber Baptiste alleges Goguen failed to honor their contract to pay her $40 million, carried a timeline shared by the federal case against Nash.
"For years, Bryan Nash has harassed and tried to extort Mr. Goguen out of millions of dollars," Diane Doolittle said in a prepared statement to the Missoulian on Friday. "The Amber Baptiste case has revealed overwhelming evidence that Nash incited and has been working closely with Baptiste for years to extort Mr. Goguen with a similar playbook."
Despite naming Goguen as a target of Nash's extortion attempts, Doolittle stopped short of confirming Goguen as "Businessman 1," of the federal case filed against Nash.
"We are pleased that law enforcement has taken this first step to put a stop to these serious crimes," Doolittle said.
Federal law enforcement wrote in the complaint filed in June that Nash began harassing "Businessman 1" for $250,000 in 2013, seeking money for his divorce, for which he blamed the entrepreneur. In the years that followed, Nash's alleged requests increased to $15 million. Also in the following years, harassment turned to threats to expose the businessman for allegedly salacious conduct, such as drugging, raping and, in one case, killing, women outside his marriages.
Goguen categorically denied the allegations when they surfaced in a 2016 lawsuit filed against him by Baptiste in San Mateo County, California. Baptiste alleges she was brought to the U.S. at the age of 15 and met Goguen in a Texas strip club in 2001 (Goguen said it was 2002). Her lawsuit includes a series of alleged graphic sexual and violent acts Goguen forced her to perform in the years following their meeting. Goguen was never charged with criminal offenses.
You have free articles remaining.
Goguen left Sequoia Capital, where he was a managing partner, in order to clear his name when Baptiste raised the allegations in her civil lawsuit, he said then. That case remains ongoing. "Businessman 1" is mentioned in the federal case against Nash as having left "Company A" in the same time frame Goguen left Sequoia.
Nash has since become party to Baptiste's lawsuit and Goguen's attorneys have countersued, claiming an extortion scheme by both parties.
Nash did not return a phone call seeking comment on Doolittle's statement.
He pleaded not guilty to interstate stalking and extortion on Tuesday, appearing in the Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in Missoula by way of a video link from a courtroom in San Francisco.
His next hearing is set for Aug. 21 before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy.
Goguen, who resides in Whitefish, is most known locally for philanthropic ventures. Such donations have funded Montana's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and a Flathead group teaching girls to code. Two Bear Air, his northwestern Montana search and rescue outfit free to anyone who has needed it, has performed well over 500 missions and 400 rescues, according to executive director and chief pilot Jim Pierce. Goguen has personally completed 30 rescues, the Daily Inter Lake reported in February. The Flathead Beacon reports he was honored with the Great Whitefish Award earlier this year.