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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Where’s the $1 Million? Dancer Asks

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Actress-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen claims an employee or employees of her business manager embezzled $1 million from her bank accounts. Allen is best known for her portrayal of Lydia Grant, the dance teacher on the TV series "Fame;" she also was the show's principal choreographer.

In her Superior Court complaint, Allen says she hired the financial firm Nigro, Karlin, Segal & Feldstein in 1985 to oversee her personal and business affairs. As a result of various mergers, Allen says, her accounts were handed to nonparty Assante Corp., defendant Loring Ward Inc. and finally to defendant Keepers Financial.

Everything seemed fine until 2006, when Nicole Katz, Keepers president and a partner at Nigro, Karlin, called her in for a meeting, Allen says.

Katz told her defendant Diane Schumacher had admitted siphoning $1 million from Allen's accounts, and account's of Allen's company, Red Bird Productions, according to the complaint. In the previous 5 years, Schumacher had worked for Keepers Financial, Loring Ward and Nigro, Karlin.

Aside from the actual embezzlements, Allen says, Keepers provided incompetent bookkeeping services, neglected its duty to pay her bills on time and caused her credit card accounts to be suspended.

She demands $1 million in compensatory damages, and punitive damages, for professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment and other charges.

She is represented by Randy McMurray and Britany Engelman with the Cochran Firm.

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