LOS ANGELES (CN) – Richard Dreyfuss and the widow of “Turner & Hooch” producer Raymond Wagner and their accountant sued Disney for a look at the books.
Dreyfuss, Christine Wagner and auditor Robinson & Company sued Walt Disney Pictures on April 9 in Superior Court, alleging breach of contract and intentional interference with contract.
Wagner’s late husband, Raymond Wagner, produced the Tom Hanks movie “Turner & Hooch.” Wagner says the movie grossed $167 million and was the 16th biggest movie of 1989.
She says she is entitled to half of the profits for the movie, but Disney did not send her an accounting statement for 20 years, until her lawyer demanded one last year.
Wagner hired David Robinson, founder of Robinson & Company, to audit Disney’s profit participation payout for “Turner & Hooch,” but Disney rejected Robinson as an auditor, according to the complaint.
Disney also refused permission for Robinson to audit profit Dreyfuss’ profit participation for “What About Bob?” the lawsuit states.
Disney claimed Robinson & Company is not a nationally recognized firm, an assertion the plaintiffs call “absurd,” a mere dodge to hide its financial statements.
Robinson opened his own audit firm in 2013 after 20 year of senior level experience in entertainment finance accounting, the lawsuit states. He was the senior member of the motion picture and television group for Green Hasson Janks, where he performed more than 50 audits at Warner Bros., Lionsgate, CBS and Turner Broadcasting, according to the complaint. He has also audited Disney, the lawsuit states.
The other member of Robinson’s firm is nonparty Richard Granatt, who has performed six audits of Disney, the plaintiffs say.
Dreyfuss and Wagner claim that Disney’s real objective is to narrow the pool of potential auditors so as to reduce the number of audits it undergoes. They claim that limiting approved auditors to the few largest firms in the country forces fees up.
Most auditors charge hourly fees, but Robinson agreed to work on a contingency basis.
“If the plaintiff Wagner in this action cannot hire a contingency auditor, then there will be no audit,” the lawsuit states.
Robinson scares Disney, plaintiffs claim, “because Robinson Inc. is a particularly effective and aggressive auditor who is usually able to achieve large recoveries for its clients.”
Robinson also lacks the conflicts of interest that are a problem with the nation’s major accounting firms, “who often represent, in other situations, the very studios that they would need to audit,” the lawsuit states.
Disney did not respond for comment.
The plaintiffs are represented by Neville Johnson with Johnson & Johnson in Beverly Hills.
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