HOUSTON BUSINESSMAN JOHN Laughlin filed suit in March accusing Mark Thatcher, Maggie’s son and our city’s most famous invisible man, of conspiring to hijack his company. Thatcher lives in Highland Park with his wife, the former Diane Burgdorf, but the couple shuns the limelight and the eager British tabloids.
Laughlin says he met Thatcher in 1991 when Thatcher and an associate approached him about investing in Ameristar, Laughlin’s airline fuel company. He says Thatcher represented himself as an investment banker who had political influence in foreign lands. According to Laughlin, Thatcher said that both he and his mother were owed political favors from Russia and from British Petroleum.
The suit alleges that Thatcher, his associate, and the Dallas law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld conspired to take over Ameristar, intending to freeze Laughlin out and ultimately terminate his ownership interest in the company.
Thatcher and the law firm have denied any wrongdoing, but he may be in for more trouble: Investigative reporters have long speculated that Mark used Maggie’s clout to build a fortune variously estimated at five to 40 million pounds. In a forthcoming book called Thatcher’s Gold, two British journalists say they’ll reveal how the famous son made his millions.