LOS ANGELES (CN) - An entertainment industry bigwig says the man who edited Sammy Davis Jr.'s 1965 autobiography ruined his business relationship with the Davis family by calling the executive a "wife beater" and a drug dealer.
The false statements from Burt Boyar, who edited Davis' "Yes I Can," have jeopardized Barrett LaRoda's work with Davis' late widow, Altovise, LaRoda claims in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Altovise and LaRoda started Sammy Davis Junior Enterprises to produce shows about Davis and drum up business for the late entertainer's image, according to the complaint. One deal credited to the company is a 2006 Applebee's commercial that integrates video of Davis dancing.
LaRoda claims he was negotiating for additional rights to the singer's estate with Tracy Davis, the singer's daughter with May Britt Ringquist, but the deal fell through because of Boyar.
Boyar allegedly told Ringquist that LaRoda is a "wife beater" and a drug dealer, and that he had stolen money from Altovise, according to the complaint.
LaRoda says his negotiations with Tracy Davis might have affected Boyar's attempts to turn "Yes I Can" into a movie, so Boyar sabotaged LaRoda's relationship with the Davises by making the false accusations.
"Ringquist did contact Tracy Davis after receiving the phone call from Boyar and expressed her concern about Tracy Davis being involved in any way with LaRoda," according to the complaint.
In January 2008, LaRoda and Sammy Davis Junior Enterprises sued Boyar and Altovise Davis in Los Angeles Federal Court, alleging trademark infringement. In the complaint, LaRoda had claimed there were disagreements over the film adaptation of "Yes I Can," and that Altovise and Boyar fraudulently transferred ownership of Sammy Davis Junior Enterprises' intellectual property.
Altovise died in March 2009.
LaRoda and Boyar are also involved in litigation over the movie in Texas, according to the complaint.
LaRoda demands punitive damages for defamation. He is represented by Jay Coggan.