Terence Stamp Says Novelist Pal Rolled Him

      VENTURA, Calif. (CN) — Terence Stamp has sued crime novelist Richard La Plante, claiming his onetime friend defrauded him of hundreds of thousands of dollars involving a house in Ojai.
     Stamp has appeared in more than 60 films dating back to the 1960s, among them “Modesty Blaise” (1966) and “Far from the Madding Crowd” in 1967. After a 10-year sabbatical in India, he returned in 1980 as the evil General Zod in “Superman II.” He may be best remembered in the States for his role in 1999 as a gangster seeking revenge for his daughter’s death in “The Limey.”
     He sued La Plante and La Plante’s ex-wife, Betina La Plante, on Monday in Superior Court, seeking more than $500,000 for fraud, breach of oral contract and conversion. Nine of Richard La Plante’s novels are listed for sale on Amazon.com.
     Stamp, who lives in England, stayed in Ojai when he worked in Southern California. According to the lawsuit, he fell in love with the area and introduced his friend La Plante to it. La Plante then bought property and began building a home with his wife.
     Stamp went over for a visit and La Plante pointed to a circular section of the property and told Stamp, “‘It could be your house.’ A discussion ensued which culminated in Mr. La Plante saying that Mr. Stamp could build a house on the property for himself,” according to the complaint.
     Trusting that oral agreement, Stamp says, he spent more than $400,000 to build the house in 2004. He filled it with his awards and memorabilia and stayed there while working in Southern California. When he was not there, the La Plantes rented it out to pay for his share of property taxes and upkeep.
     But La Plante divorced his wife not long after Stamp built the house, and he told Stamp he had to sell the entire property as part of their settlement. He promised to repay Stamp the money the actor had spent on the house, and profits from it, and though Stamps “was upset about the sale, [he] trusted his longtime friend and believed his promise to turn over his share of the proceeds from the sale when it occurred,” according to the complaint.
     But after selling the home in June 2015, the money never came. Stamp says he believes that the La Plantes never did intend to pay him, that they “induced Mr. Stamp to build out the Stamp House with promises that it would be ‘his home’ and that he would get the proceeds plus a profit if it were sold because the La Plantes actually wanted him to fund the build-out of a home that they could rent out … with the intention that they would keep it and rent it without accounting to Mr. Stamp at all.”
     In short, Stamp says, he “is informed and believes that Mr. La Plante used their friendship to induce Mr. Stamp to invest money into the property when the La Plantes actually had no intention of ever paying him back.”
     Stamp says he also gave La Plante $10,000 to buy a car for him to keep at the home, which was not returned, and that La Plante still owes him $10,000 on a $100,000 personal loan.
     In addition to $500,000, Stamp seeks an accounting for the construction, rental and sale of the property.
     He is represented by Andrew Haley with Shoreline Law in Santa Monica, who did not respond to a request for comment.

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