LOS ANGELES (CN) – An estate executor fled the country with $580,000 from a movie director’s estate, which was meant to establish a yearly scholarship for film students, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences claims in Superior Court.
Robert Mundy claimed illness kept him from wrapping up director Gene Curtis Harrington’s affairs for 3 years, then he departed for “somewhere in England or Scotland,” the Academy claims.
Harrington directed a slew of TV shows in the 1970s and 1980s, including episodes of “Dynasty,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Charlie’s Angels.” He also directed “marvelously offbeat and atmospheric low-budget independent horror pictures,” according to the Internet Movie Database.
Harrington is considered a forerunner of New Queer Cinema, an early 1990s film movement that dealt openly with the lives and culture of gay men and lesbians.
Four months after Harrington’s May 2007 death, estate executor Robert Mundy told the Academy it would soon have its money, since the sale of Harrington’s house was closing, according to the complaint. The Academy says the house and its contents sold for $580,000.
Over the next 3 years, the Academy says, Mundy missed numerous deadlines to hand over the money and an accounting of the estate.
Mundy first claimed he couldn’t pay the Academy because he had cancer, then said a series of “small strokes” prevented him from working, and finally told a probate court that arthritis in his hands had kept him from adding up the estate’s accounts, according to the complaint.
In August 2009, Mundy’s attorney, William Moore, allegedly told the Academy’s lawyer that the real reason for the delay was that Mundy had used the estate’s assets “as a personal kitty bank, making loans to himself from it while failing to keep records reflecting the purpose of the withdrawals.”
In April this year, the Academy says, Moore told a probate court that Mundy had fled the country and was “somewhere in England or Scotland.”
The Academy says Mundy left behind few records. A Bank of America account in the name of the Harrington Estate had been closed by the time the Academy learned of its existence, the complaint states.
The Academy says Mundy also kept estate money that Harrington left to two young girls and to a man who is in prison.
The Academy demands $750,000, and punitive damages. It is represented by David Quinto with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart.