Ex-Canadian Embassy Aide Named in NGSA Fraud Lawsuit
Superior Court Judge Jose Lopez has signed off on a "letter
rogatory" that sets in motion the process for attorneys for the
Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) to depose the former Canadian
Embassy aide who has been accused along with the group's former
president, Nicholas Bush, of defrauding the association of millions
Margaret Elizabeth Martin, who was an "economics counselor" at
the embassy in Washington between 1990-1991 and was well known in
natural gas circles, allegedly uncovered Bush's embezzlement
activities while living with him for a short period after she left
the embassy, but she agreed to keep silent about his actions in
return for "certain purchases" made with the money he acquired from
the fraud, according to amended court papers filed late last month.
The purchases included a $250,000 summer home in Garden Island in
Battersea, Ontario, and jewelry and a mink coat, the civil lawsuit
The NGSA action has charged Martin with five counts of fraud,
including "aiding and abetting" Bush in his fraudulent activities,
"unjust enrichment" and "civil conspiracy to defraud." The producer
group seeks to recover $265,000 (cost of home and $15,000 in
electrical improvements) from Martin herself, plus $1 million in
Martin currently is director of Canadian federal government
relations for TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. in Ottawa, and has
informally denied the charges. She was supposed to submit a formal
response to the NGSA charges last week in Superior Court but hadn't
done so as of last Thursday. The NGSA hopes to "work something out"
with Martin, but if negotiations don't go well in the U.S. it could
be forced to bring a lawsuit in Canada against her. "At some point
in time," the association is looking to settle with Bush also, a
Martin, who was traveling last week, could not be reached for
comment, but TransCanada spokesman Gary Davis told NGI the company
"has every confidence in Margaret Martin," and that the lawsuit was
not distracting her from her job. "She's hard at work, carrying out
her responsibilities for the company."
Since Martin is a Canadian resident and the property NGSA is
seeking to encumber is located in Canada, NGSA was required to file
for the "letter rogatory," which is a "formal, written
communication" from the Superior Court asking the Ontario Court of
Justice, General Division, in Ottawa for its "assistance in the
taking of evidence" in the case, specifically depositions and the
production of documents.
Additionally, the NGSA is seeking to depose two Canadian
attorneys, Oliver G. Prevost and Donald B. Good, who acted as
agents when Martin acquired the Ontario house near her parents,
according to the amended lawsuit.
The original lawsuit, which NGSA brought in late February,
estimated that Bush misappropriated about $2.4 million over a
12-year period from the producer group by setting up fraudulent
consulting contracts under the names of past acquaintances. Most of
the contracts were in the name of James W. O. Rogers, who knew Bush
briefly in the 1980s but had no consulting relationship with NGSA.
It's now believed that Bush and his accused accomplice, Martin,
took NGSA for a little more than $3 million, the lawsuit said. NGSA
is seeking to recover the entire amount from the pair, plus $5
million in punitive damages.
While the majority of the money reportedly was embezzled through
fraudulent consulting contracts ($2.8 million), Bush allegedly also
submitted fraudulent restaurant expenses, says the amended lawsuit.
Between 1991-1998, the former NGSA president was reimbursed for
$181,297 in expenses for business dinners at two posh D.C.
restaurants - Lion D'Or and Germaine's. After Bush was ousted,
letterhead from the two restaurants was discovered in his desk at
Furthermore, the NGSA uncovered another fraudulent consulting
contract - this one with the Duberstein Group in Washington D.C. In
September 1991, Bush directed NGSA to pay $60,000 to the company,
which was never retained for consulting services. The money
allegedly was pocketed by the former NGSA president, according to
On the criminal front, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington
is expected to bring criminal charges against Bush within the next
few weeks. Separately, the NGSA reportedly has narrowed its choices
for a successor to Bush down to three, and is expected to announce
a new president within the month, according to sources.