LOS ANGELES (CN) – Four Hollywood bigwigs must pay $2.3 million to a Brazilian businessman after a jury found that former Paramount Pictures President David Kirkpatrick and others used his investment in a Christian media company to line their own pockets.
A jury in the courtroom of Superior Court judge Malcolm Mackey jury sided with Washington Umberto Cinel on all 13 of the claims from his 2008 lawsuit, which included allegations of securities fraud, intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract.
Cinel’s attorney, Robert Platt with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, told Courthouse News that Cinel was happy with the results of his a four-and-a-half year wait.
“It was a long road to victory and the defendants continually delayed the trial date,” Platt said. “But Mr. Cinel was resolute in his desire to get justice.”
Cinel claimed that he was fraudulently induced to purchase 600,000 shares in the defunct Los Angeles company Good News Holdings in late 2006 and early 2007.
The founders of Good News Holdings included several high profile entertainment industry insiders, including Kirkpatrick and Martha Cotton, a former West Coast producer of “The Today Show” on NBC News, George Barna, Thom Black, and producer Christopher Chisholm – a writer and director who was a founder of E! Entertainment Television.
Cinel claimed that founding members of the company created a false deadline for the date he could purchase shares at $5 apiece, saying the deadline was a legal obligation and that he would have to pay $7-$10 a share thereafter. But, Cinel said, the founders allowed others to buy shares at the $5 price after the deadline had passed. Cinel claimed the founders rushed him to keep him from fully researching the company.
Cinel claimed the defendants said they would use his money for a film studio and educational cooperative but pocketed the money instead.
Good News Holdings ceased operations in 2007, rendering Cinel’s shares worthless, according to his complaint.
Chisholm will face a jury trial in November, and the trial against against Kirkpatrick for punitive damages will begin this week, according to a news release issued by the law firm.