According to separate lawsuits filed in Texas and Delaware last week a wealthy Republican donor funneled $75,000 from a Texas oil services company to Sen. Norm Coleman through the insurance company that employs Norm’s wife, Laurie.
The Texas lawsuit asserts that the insurance company did no work for the oil services firm. and that a so-called "consulting" agreement was allegedly just a ruse for shifting money to the Colemans.
In a press release issued Friday, the Hays insurance company acknowledged that the oil services firm is a client but denied that any of the proceeds went to Laurie Coleman.
According to the lawsuit, the Hays company is not licensed to write insurance in Texas. However, Hays also provides risk consulting services, in addition to writing insurance.
Everyone agrees that Laurie Coleman has been associated with the Minnesota-based Hays Companies in some capacity since 2006.
Coleman’s financial disclosure forms say that Laurie drew an undisclosed salary from the Hays Companies in 2006 and 2007.
Coleman and the Hays Company appear to contradict each other about the details of Laurie’s employment. Coleman has stated that Laurie is an employee of Hays. According to Hays Companies, "Laurie Coleman, who is fully and legally licensed to sell insurance in Minnesota, has been an Independent Contractor for Hays Companies since 2006."
This afternoon, I asked a Hays spokesman to confirm that Laurie was not on salary. He told me that the press release "reads for itself." Which implies that Laurie is not an employee, according to Hays Co.
Minnesota records show that Laurie Coleman obtained her Resident Insurer Producer’s License on October 7, 2006.
Laurie Coleman is 51 years old and reportedly spends a great deal of time in California, pursuing her career as an actress. Coleman has been described in the media as a model, a ballerina, an actress, and an entrepreneur. Search as I might, I could find no mention of Coleman ever being described as an insurance producer, apart from the claims that have emerged in the wake of the lawsuits.
Laurie Coleman has been aggressively promoting her Blo & Go hands free hair dryer. Available evidence suggests that this is a heavily LA-centric enterprise. The patent for Coleman’s invention is held by a company called Holster, Inc. of Los Angeles. Holster shares an address with Turk Entertainment, Laurie’s talent agency, which also lists Blo & Go as a client.
It is interesting that the middle aged performer with a growing business would decide just two years ago to become an insurance producer. Coleman does not appear to be licensed to produce insurance in California, or Texas.
The Hays Company is a privately held insurance company based in Minneapolis. Its president, James C. Hayes of Long Lake, MN has given $33,100 in political contributions since 1999, all but $3400 went to Republicans. Hays has given $7450 to Norm Coleman since 2002. Other Hays executives have also donated significant sums to Coleman and other Republican candidates.