Knight Oil Tools on Thursday removed Mark Knight from its governing board, four days after police implicated the 57-year-old son of the company’s founder in a criminal scheme last summer to frame his brother on drug charges.
Knight’s removal as chairman of the board was confirmed Thursday afternoon by company President and Chief Executive Office Earl Blackwell.
Blackwell said the change was effective Thursday. He declined further comment.
State Police and Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives announced Sunday that Knight in June had conspired with two law officers and a Knight Oil employee to plant illegal drugs in the vehicle of Bryan Knight, Mark Knight’s younger brother.
Maj. Art LeBreton, Sheriff’s Office chief deputy, said a dispute between Mark Knight and Bryan Knight that centered on the Knight family finances led to the crime.
Until January, Mark Knight was president and chief executive of the company his father, Eddy Knight, started in 1972 and grew into a worldwide oil services company.
In January, Knight Oil announced that Mark Knight would relinquish the jobs of running the company to Blackwell, who had been the Knight Oil vice president of finance.
Mark Knight stated in the release that he would be Knight Oil chairman of the board and would focus on the company’s strategic direction. It was unclear Thursday whether Mark Knight would play any role in company operations.
The Lafayette Metro Task Force, acting on a phoned-in tip, stopped Bryan Knight on June 4 on West Bayou Parkway.
Bryan Knight was arrested after cocaine and prescription pills were located in two containers attached with a magnetic strip to the underside of his Cadillac Escalade. Bryan Knight was never prosecuted.
Detectives now believe the drugs were planted by an employee of Mark Knight. The ruse also has snared a state trooper and a sheriff’s deputy, who were arrested last weekend. On Tuesday, Mark Knight turned himself in and was quickly released after posting bail of $100,000. All three were booked on one count each of racketeering.
A fourth suspect, Russell Manuel, the Knight Oil employee suspected of planting the drugs and calling in the tip to police, remained at large Thursday evening. Police have said they do not consider Manuel a flight risk.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was modified on April 23, 2015, to correct the spelling of Russell Manuel’s name.