Kirtland Oil Field Trash's shareholders sued

James Fenton
The Silva Trading Co. property as seen on Tuesday in Kirtland.

FARMINGTON — Two controlling shareholders of a Kirtland oilfield service company are being sued by a third shareholder who accuses the two of theft, coercion, falsifying financial records and other charges.

On July 11, Gary Risley — the Farmington attorney representing the plaintiff, minority shareholder Bryan Faircloth — filed the lawsuit in the Eleventh Judicial District Court in Aztec.

The controlling shareholders, brothers Roland and Hud Silva, are named defendants along with the Oil Field Trash Corporation — also called O.F.T. Construction Inc. — in the town of Kirtland.

The complaint states that as part of a conspiracy over the last three years, the Silvas allegedly diverted materials or equipment from the company to benefit themselves or other companies they operate. The brothers have also allegedly attempted to force Faircloth to sell his minority stake in the company at a loss and retaliated against him when he refused.

That retaliation involved stripping Faircloth any supervisory authority in the company, taking away a company vehicle and company credit card and not paying his salary.

Reached by phone today,Hud Silva said he just received the complaint late last week and had not yet read it through.

He declined to comment on the charges in the complaint.

"We don’t have an attorney yet, but we’re in the process of looking for a lawyer," he said.

The Silvas are also accused of treating company assets and property as personal property, paying themselves excessive compensation without authority and other breaches of their fiduciary obligations to the business and Faircloth, according to court documents.

Risley said the question over how much financial harm has been done to the company and his client will be made clear at trial.

"There are a lot of times with lawsuits when you know you've been harmed, particularly when the person has lost control of the assets, but you don't know the sum," Risley said.

Risley said he believes that all the charges will show his client has been treated unfairly.

"I'm highly confident that my client is being treated unfairly and will ultimately prevail," Riley said. "The Silvas control two-thirds of the company, and it is our belief that they abused that position and enriched themselves to the detriment of my client. I think each and every one of the (charges) is justified. We're not just throwing something against the wall and hoping it sticks."

Risley said the motivation behind shareholder feuds like this one often boil down to "plain old greed."

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