Legal Brawl Over Ann Richards Documentary
LITTLE ROCK (CN) - The director of an HBO documentary on Ann Richards sold the movie at a discount in exchange for a job with HBO, at investors' expense, one investor claims in court.
Jordan Cooper, a dentist, claims the film's director, Keith Patterson, promised to name him an executive producer and pay him profits and royalties in exchange for his $43,000 investment.
Cooper sued Patterson and his companies Ann Richards Movie LLC, Ann Richards Film LLC, along with HBO and Newcoast Entertainment, on Tuesday in Pulaski County Court.
Cooper claims Patterson managed several businesses and used his money for purposes other than the film.
"Cooper was an early investor in Ann Richards LLC (ARM). He was promised to be named a member of the LLC by Mr. Patterson (the managing partner of ARM). He was also promised to be named as executive director in the credits of the movie," Cooper says in his complaint.
He adds: "After finally learning that the movie had been sold to HBO for $200,000, Mr. Cooper inquired about being paid based on the equity he had in the company. Mr. Patterson informed him that he had borrowed money from Newcoast (who also was an equity partner in the company) and because debt was an expense, Newcoast's debt would be paid first leaving nothing with which to pay plaintiff." (Parentheses in complaint.)
Cooper claims it took Patterson months to respond to his request to see the loan documents between ARM and Newcoast, and that the documents had been signed after the sale of the movie, "so as to pay Newcoast their full investment and have nothing left to pay plaintiff who was entitled to the first proceeds of any sale of the movie."
"Upon information and belief, plaintiff also alleges that Mr. Patterson negotiated a reduced price for the sale of the movie with HBO with the caveat that HBO hire Mr. Patterson for employment with HBO. HBO was aware that Mr. Patterson was breaching his fiduciary duty of loyalty to his investors but cooperated in the scheme so the company (HBO) could pay a reduced amount for the movie. Patterson and ARM have not returned any money to plaintiff."
The documentary on the late Texas governor was broadcast on HBO in April this year, as "All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State."
Patterson is an actor, director and writer known for his acting role in "Definitely, Maybe" and "Across the Universe," according to his IMDb page.
Cooper's lawsuit is a reversal from comments attributed to the dentist in 2012. His dental office's website even boasts a press release lauding the awards he accepted at the Discovery Channel SilverDoc Film Festival, where he called his work on the film "a great learning experience and a lot of fun."
In several 2012 articles about the film, Cooper is listed as an executive producer. However, HBO's website about the movie excludes him from the credits.
Cooper seeks punitive damages for conversion, intentional misrepresentation and breach of contract and fiduciary duties.
He is represented by Jeremy Hutchinson of Benton.