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FARMIMGTON — A local oil and gas business is in turmoil after one if its members became the subject of a lawsuit while the company is embroiled in a separate lawsuit over ownership and interest matters.

Members of Synergy Operating Inc., a Farmington oil and gas company formed in 1996 by three people, is suing one of its members for insider theft, among other charges.

Patrick Hegarty is identified as a “disassociated” member in the complaint. On the company’s website, his name is still listed — with an email hyperlink — along with three other people. No titles are listed.

Synergy filed suit in district court in July, accusing Hegarty and nine employees or contractors of using trade secrets to make profits for themselves and others.

The suit names Hegarty and nine “John Does” as defendants.

The July 27 complaint filed by the company’s attorney, William Denning, accuses Hegarty and the nine others of breach of fiduciary duty, usurpation of corporate opportunity, conversion of company property, misappropriation of trade secrets and tortious interference with existing and prospective business relationships.

Neither Hegarty nor the others listed on Synergy’s website, synergyoperating.com, could be reached for comment.

Denning, a Farmington attorney reached by phone, declined to comment on either case.

Phone calls to Synergy and an email message left for Hegarty using the hyperlink seeking comment were not returned.

Last year, it was discovered that Synergy’s Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs leases had not been renewed, according to the complaint.

Hegarty — who was allegedly responsible for those lease renewals, according to the court documents — is accused in the complaint of renewing those leases under other companies’ or individuals’ names.

The complaint says that Hegarty and the others caused or aided theft of interest in the company’s wells.

One of the companies named in the complaint is an Oklahoma-based corporation called Betterit Land and Title Holding Company, a company the filing claims is or was controlled by Hegarty’s spouse.

According to court documents, “John Does 1 through 9 and Betterit are in a business substantially similar to that of Synergy’s operations and derive economic benefits from leasing operations.”

As a result of the alleged insider theft, the company has “been deprived of significant revenue,” according to the complaint.

The case, currently before District Court Judge Daylene Marsh, has been delayed in anticipation of an answer from Hegarty to the complaint.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

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