LOS ANGELES (CN) - Michael Moore accuses the Weinstein brothers of using "classic Hollywood accounting tricks and financial deception" to cheat him of profits from his film "Fahrenheit 9/11." Westside Productions, Moore's loan-out company, claims Robert and Harvey Weinstein and their company, The Fellowship Adventure Group, promised, but failed to deliver, a 50-50 split of profits from Moore's documentary.
Moore seeks an accounting and punitive damages for constructive fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.
In his Superior Court complaint, Moore claims Westside and the defendants are partners in a joint venture the produced and distributed "Fahrenheit 9/11," a documentary "about the events which lured this country into a war with Iraq."
"Westside and TFAG agreed that: (a) Moore would write, direct and produce the film; (b) TFAG would finance, sell and distribute the film; and (c) the profits would be shared equally 50-50. Although Westside and Moore delivered an award-winning film that achieved major box office success, TFAG has failed and refused to share equally the fruits of the venture as the partners had agreed."
Moore claims the Weinsteins cheated him "by failing to pay Westside its share, by using bogus accounting methods to hide the true amounts due Westside, and by secretly diverting monies owed Westside to [sic] TFAG and the Weinsteins."
The complaint continues: "TFAG and the Weinsteins' deception was first uncovered in or about November 2008 through an audit commissioned by Eastside. The audit, which was later augmented in 2010, revealed highly irregular accounting practices including, among other things, charges to the production for the cost of private jets to fly one of the Weinsteins and his assistant to Europe. It was also revealed that TFAG improperly and secretly used money belonging to the TFAG-Westside venture to acquire TFAG's rights in the venture."
Moore claims the Weinsteins improperly deducted more than $3 million in expenses, some of it through double billing, took a 30% distribution fee instead of the contractually permitted 20% for some nonmajor territories, and still have not produced all the documents necessary for a complete audit.
Moore is represented by Edward Klein with Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor.