Investor Sues Art Dula, Excalibur Almaz for Alleged Fraud

Artist's conception of the private Excalibur Almaz space station in orbit. (Credit: Excalibur Almaz)Via Clark Lindsey at NewSpace Watch: A Texas woman has sued Art Dula and Excalibur Almaz over for allegedly defrauding her and her late husband in an asteroid mining scheme:

Donna Beck sued Houston patent attorney Arthur Dula, his companies Excalibur Exploration Limited, Excalibur Limited, Excalibur Almaz Limited and Excalibur Almaz USA Inc., and Excalibur directors J. Buckner Hightower and Christopher Stott, in Harris County Court.

“Dula defrauded Beck by inducing her and her husband (since deceased) to advance $300,000, and later purchase an investment in Excalibur Exploration Limited, one of the Excalibur entities, with the fundamental false representation that the company had the technical expertise and associations to develop a business to fly the first commercial prospecting space flight to an asteroid,” the complaint states.

“Dula bolstered his lies by representing that his other companies had the spacecraft to accomplish the job, as well as associations with other necessary contractors.

“In fact, the entire operation was a sham and never accomplished anything of substance.

“Dula spent Beck’s money even before Excalibur Exploration Limited was formed to pay for a project that Dula and his associates had previously earmarked as an expense for another related company, until they got lucky and got Beck’s check and switched the obligation to her.”

This is the first I have heard that Excalibur Almaz was working on asteroid mining. The company’s plans for its Soviet-era space station and capsule hardware have changed several times over the years. Proposals have included an orbiting space station/tourism destination, transportation for NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, and (most recently) a plan for servicing cis-lunar space.

Interestingly, the suit claims that Dula said he had already raised $50 million for the venture. It also alleges that Excalibur Mines had the “right of first refusal” for using the VASMIR engine being developed by Ad Astra Rocket Company for asteroid mining.

Buckner Hightower was appointed CEO of Excalibur Almaz USA in May 2011. Defendant Chris Stott is the husband of American astronaut Nicole Stott.

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