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Where’s The Money? Stem Cell Group Asks

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Reliant Pictures took $1.5 million to make a movie about stem-cell therapy, but never made the picture and can't account for how it spent $815,000, the World Stem Cell Foundation claims. The foundation sued Reliant CEO Thom Mount - but not Reliant itself - in Superior Court.

The nonprofit foundation claims Mount lied about the movie's progress: that the script and storyboard were complete, that filming would begin in June 2008, that the movie would be ready to go by October 2008 and that HBO and the BBC had agreed to distribute it.

But Reliant never produced the movie, the foundation says, and it claims that $814,836 of the production budget "is completely unaccounted for."

In its complaint, the foundation says Stemedica Cell Technologies hired Reliant Pictures to produce a $3 million docudrama "about the overall stem cell industry with an emphasis on Stemedica."

Stemedica paid Reliant $1.5 million, and gave the producer another $1.5 million to hold in trust for production and marketing, according to the complaint. Stemedica transferred its ownership of the movie to the foundation in June 2007, the complaint adds.

The foundation says it is "dedicated to the education of patients and other consumers who want current information and answers to their questions about stem cell research, therapies and clinical trials."

The foundation demands $1.5 million, plus punitive damages, alleging fraud, negligence, conversion, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty. It also wants an accounting.

It is represented by Gregory Olson of San Diego.

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