LOS ANGELES (CN) - Actor Michael Douglas seized control of an entertainment company he founded with his partner, actor and producer Howard Zuker, and then stiffed Zuker out of his promised 50 percent of net profits totaling "millions of dollars," Zuker claims in Superior Court.
Zuker says he devoted 10 years and his own money to help create American Entertainment Holding Co. with Douglas, and that he hoped it would become a leading entertainment company that acquired literary rights portfolios and created a large "film fund" where investors could put money into movies to raise capital.
But Zuker says says soon after Douglas' attorneys learned that the Oscar-winner had agreed to spilt his profits, they began "looking for opportunities to steal the company away from Zuker and to extricate Douglas from the terms" of the agreement, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit says one attorney "even tried to organize a coup to take the company himself."
Then, the night before the consummation of the "Film Fund," when AEHC was worth $40 million, defendants Douglas and Christopher Baker suddenly "launched their scheme to divert" the company's assets to their own side-business, "in part to help Douglas avoid his obligation to share his profits" with Zuker, the lawsuit states.
Zuker says defendants then ousted him "from the very business that Zuker developed," withheld money and accused him of defaulting on money advances from Douglas.
Zuker seeks a declaration that the agreement is still in full force, and that Douglas must split AEHC's profits with Zuker. He also seeks unspecified damages.
He is represented by Micah Jacobs.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.