Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #880: Another Tainted Burrito...

Last week I wrote about how James Frey is like a tainted burrito, and by which I mean something unpleasant that keeps gurgling up again and again no matter what.

Another tainted burrito is bankrupt film financier David Bergstein.  I've written about him many times, and none of what I've written was remotely nice.  

Long story short he's a self-styled film financier who started about half a dozen or more independent film financing, production and distribution companies, with names like ThinkFilm and Capitol Media, all over Europe and North America. He then went on to drive all of them into bankruptcy and accumulated lawsuits the way a rich comic book geek accumulates action figures.

Well, fate has regurgitated Bergstein into the news again, it seems he's suing the current owners of Miramax Films over their purchase of the company from Disney.

He claims that he was instrumental in bringing billionaire Ron Tutor into the fray to buy Miramax by doing all the legwork and due diligence for him.  Bergstein then claims that other partners like Colony Capital moved in by kicking in some money of their own, and promptly began squeezing him out.  He saw his stake in the affair dwindle down and now he's suing to get back what he thinks is rightfully his.

I have to admit, if I was in Colony Capital's position, I'd probably do the exact same thing.

Hell, anyone with half a brain cell would want to distance the company from Bergstein and his decidedly colorful business history.

I'm not saying that Bergstein is a crook. He may be as pure as the driven snow, and just a victim of bad luck, poor decisions, and tragic misunderstandings.  However, his overly-complicated corporate structure, involving dozens of shell corporations, high flying casino-rocking lifestyle, and tendency to attract litigation like flies to shit, sure as hell makes him look like the last person you want to be in business with.

He has only himself to blame for that.

Does his case have merit?

That's for the court to decide, and then be appealed repeatedly until no one knows what the hell is going on anymore.

That's how independent film operates these days, and why it's so hard to get anything done.

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