The lawsuit, Takafumi Horie v. The Law Offices of Art Dula, which was filed Nov. 10 in a Harris County district court, alleges that attorney Art Dula convinced Takafumi Horie that he could set up a commercial space transportation program to carry people and cargo into a low Earth orbit by using Russian-made Almaz class space craft.
The lawsuit also alleges that Art Dula used his position as trustee for the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust [Heinlein was a prolific science fiction author who was famous for writing about manned space exploration] to “get new business.” The lawsuit also alleges that Dula took $49 million of the investor’s money and put it into his IOLTA account for Horie’s “Japan Space Dream” business. But according to the petition, that business was only to remain a dream.
“Dula never intended to engage in a commercial space program, and in fact continually misrepresented, concealed facts and defrauded his client Takafumie Horie d/b/a Japanese Space Dream,” according to the petition which alleges fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty among other things.
The petition alleges that Horie learned the investment was a “sham” when he learned that Dula had allegedly sold a Russian spacecraft at auction that “was only suitable for display in a museum, and not as a potential flight vehicle as had been falsely represented to plaintiff Horie from the beginning.”
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This is not the first lawsuit against Dula alleging fraud in connection wit Excalibur Almaz.