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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Trust Sues Warner Bros.

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The bank in charge of "Dukes of Hazzard" creator Gy Waldron's charitable trust claims again that Warner Bros. withheld more than $6 million from Waldron - money earned by the TV series and movie.

A federal judge threw out a similar complaint filed by the bank in January on the grounds that Waldron, who was not a party to the lawsuit, still could have benefited from the trust.

In the new federal complaint, First National Bank in Sioux Falls says Waldron appointed it trustee of his Sequoia Charitable Trust after Waldron suffered a major heart attack in March 2008.

First National says Waldron deposited $500,000 in the trust account and assigned his rights to revenue from the "Dukes of Hazzard" series and movies to The Sequoia Charitable Trust.

The South Dakota-based bank claims Warner Bros. refused to hold up its end of a 1987 settlement with Waldron.

Waldron had claimed that Warner Bros. hid more than $12 million in "Dukes" profits to avoid paying him.

The settlement called for Warner Bros. to pay Waldron $6.2 million and 6.5 percent of gross receipts from any "Dukes" production that was not a spinoff.

First National sued Warner Bros. in January, claiming it had withheld Waldron's promised 6.5 percent payment.

The court dismissed that complaint, finding that the Waldron and his wife, Rose Waldron, could still benefit from the trust under South Dakota law.

In response, the couple relinquished their rights over the series to the trust, the new lawsuit states.

The California court did not recognize the relinquishment, so First National says it filed a petition in South Dakota's Minnehaha County Circuit Court, modifying the trust to clarify that the Waldrons had no interest in or control over the trust.

First National says the Circuit Court issued an order confirming that the trust would benefit only "bona fide charities."

First National then filed the current complaint, restating its claims for accounting, unjust enrichment and fraud.

Waldron is not a party to the lawsuit. First National and The Sequoia Charitable Trust sued Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Warner Bros. Television Production Inc. Marc Toberoff is representing the plaintiffs.

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