(CN) – Nicolas Cage’s business manager countersued the actor, claiming that by the time Cage hired him, he “had already squandered tens of millions of dollars he had earned as a movie star, he was deeply in debt, and he owed million [sic] of dollars in accrued but unpaid income taxes, with no funds available to pay the tax debt.” Cage sued Samuel J. Levin a month ago, claiming the “incompetent business manager … lined his pockets with several million dollars in business management fees while sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin.”
But Levin claims, in his cross complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, that when Cage hired him in September 2001, the actor “knew all about his perilous financial situation and he knew he was behind on paying his taxes.”
Levin, who sued Cage under his birth name, Nicolas Coppola, adds that when he was hired, “after making an initial evaluation of the files, Levin warned Coppola that he needed to earn $30 million a year just to maintain his lavish lifestyle.”
Levin claims that Cage agreed, at first, to reduce his spending, as Levin suggested, “but the attempt to bring financial sense in Coppola’s life was short lived, because Coppola had a string of hit films, his earnings soared, and Coppola abandoned the economic conservatism he had agreed to with Levin.”
Levin’s 12-page complaint continues: “As Levin sold off automobiles, Coppola bought new ones. Then, cross-defendant set off on a spending binge of epic proportions, and by July 2008 Coppola owned 15 palatial homes around the word; four yachts (one for the Caribbean, one for the Mediterranean, one for Newport Beach and one for Rhode Island); an island in the Bahamas; a Gulfstream jet; and millions of dollars in jewelry and art.”
Levin claims that beginning in 2005, and with “increasing urgency” in 2006 and 2007, he “implored Coppola to stop buying real estate and urged him to reduce his real estate holdings, warning Coppola that the financial press was filled with references to a ‘real estate bubble.'”
He claims that “also with increasing urgency,” he “implored” Cage to reduce his spending and build up a cash reserve “as a defense against a potential economic downturn.” But he says Cage “rejected this advice and continued his compulsive spending.”
In 2007 alone, Levin says, Cage bought three more houses for more than $33 million, 22 more cars, including 9 Rolls Royces, 12 pieces of expensive jewelry and 47 pieces of art and “exotic items.” And he says Cage “spent huge sums taking his sizeable entourage on costly vacations and threw enormous, Gatsby-scale parties at his residences.”
He claims Cage did not just ignore his warnings, he “rebuked” him try trying to control the squandering. “The pinnacle of Coppola’s spending spree came with his quixotic acquisitions of Midford Castle in England and Schloss Neidstein Castle in Bavaria.” Levin says he warned Cage that both castles were “decrepit” and needed “huge expenditures just to make them habitable,” and that Cage didn’t have that money, but the actor “ignored Levin’s advice and bought both castles anyway.”
Levin says Cage’s complaint (below) that Levin had kept him in the dark about his financial condition “is false, because Levin briefed Coppola regularly on his financial condition.”
In short, Levin says, Cage has no one to blame but himself.
Levin is represented by Joseph Schleimer.
Here is Courthouse News’ Oct. 19 story on Cage’s lawsuit.
Nicolas Cage Sues Ex-Manager for $20M
(CN) – Nicolas Cage claims his “incompetent business manager, Samuel J. Levin … lined his pockets with several million dollars in business management fees while sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin.” Cage claims in Santa Monica Superior Court that Levin paid himself “millions of dollars” since 2001, while inflicting “catastrophic losses” on Cage sued to “highly speculative and risky real estate investments.”
Cage says that now, after earning millions of dollars in more than 50 movies over two decades, he is “forced to sell major assets and investments at a significant loss and is faced with huge tax liabilities because of Levin’s incompetence, misrepresentations and recklessness.” He claims that Levin also failed to pay his taxes, “resulting in million of dollars in back taxes, interest and penalties owed by Cage.”
The actor says he did not find out about the financial disaster until “only recently, when Cage terminated Levin and retained new business management and accountant services.” Cage says he hired Levin as his business manager in September 2001.
He seeks an accounting and $20 million in punitive damages for fraud, concealment, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. Cage is represented by Martin Singer with Lavely & Singer.