Ross Lincoln and Jen Yamato are Deadline contributors.
2ND UPDATE, 8:15 PM: After Chris Beall’s confirmation that he has been removed from his position at Platinum Studios, Deadline spoke by phone to both Beall and Scott Rosenberg for additional comment. Beall for his part remains adamant that Rosenberg’s tenure atop Platinum has been defined by mismanagement, reiterating in particular his claim that the transfer of a controlling share of Platinum Studios stocks was unethical because, he alleges, it is “an entity that Scott does have an ownership stake in.” Rosenberg disputes those claims without reservation, and speaking exclusively to Deadline, he said “I do not control Rip at all, and that’s from any legal standpoint, as anyone who would want to look at SEC records, accounting records, all legal avenues one can see, I do not control Rip.” Deadline has been told that further comment on the matter by Rip Media will follow.
1ST UPDATE, 3 PM: Platinum Studios‘ Chris Beall received a legal letter from the company saying he was voted out as president and director — the morning of an investors call that was to address Beall’s move earlier in the week to oust CEO Scott Rosenberg. The letter, dated yesterday at 10:45 AM, confirms that a majority share of the company’s shareholders had voted Beall out. (Beall alleges that 790 million of the voting shares owned by Rip Media were illegitimately transferred by Rosenberg before the shake-up.) The board reconstitution left Rosenberg and Glenn Eggert as the only remaining directors, with Rosenberg named as the company’s Chairman, CEO, President, Secretary, CFO, and Treasurer. The vote came after Beall issued a letter of suspension to Rosenberg on Monday (read that one here) and sent an email (read it here) to investors and board members outlining the reasons for his actions. He set up a call for yesterday at 7 PM but neither Beall or Rosenberg were on it.
PREVIOUS, 12:48 PM: Disarray is the only word to right now describe Platinum Studios, the publicly traded entertainment company that controls a vast number of comic book properties and was behind the sci-fi Western flop Cowboys & Aliens in 2011. Deadline is still investigating this extraordinary situation consisting of charges and countercharges contained in emails and letters to shareholders as well as statements to our website. CEO Scott Rosenberg today denied that he has been pushed out of the company despite what president Chris Beall is saying in letters and emails to his investors and shareholders — that Rosenberg this week is being removed from his post amid allegations of misallocating funds. Neither execs appeared on a hastily scheduled investor call yesterday to sort it all out.
Beall sent a letter to Rosenberg on Monday in which he claimed to speak on behalf of Platinum’s board of directors. It informed Rosenberg he had been removed as CEO. Beall sent a separate email to investors alleging numerous misuses of company funds by Rosenberg. Among those accusations were that Rosenberg transferred a controlling interest in the company to another entity, Rip Media, without approval of shareholders; that Rosenberg paid himself out of funds intended for other purposes; and that Rosenberg diverted company funds to pay for his family’s health care. Beall also claimed the company has lost rights to Cowboys & Aliens, the big-budget tentpole starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig that barely grossed $100 million at the domestic box office in 2011. (UPDATE: Rosenberg in a phone conversation today flatly denied the company has lost rights to Cowboys & Aliens. “That’s a ridiculous statement; he’s 100% incorrect”.)
Movie news website Bleeding Cool was first tipped to this story.
The investor call was described as a chance for investors who disagreed with Rosenberg’s removal to rebut the decision. But neither Beall nor Rosenberg showed up on the call.
Rosenberg answered the phone at Platinum today and said the company is writing a statement addressing the situation. He also was defiant by claiming that he is still with the company. “I have no intention of leaving, and shareholders from a percentage standpoint have no desire for me to leave,” Rosenberg told Deadline. He added, “A) I plan to be here for a long time. B) there’s no sign that I won’t be.”
About Beall, Rosenberg said: “I can’t comment on anything that hasn’t been released publicly, and I don’t know what Beall has released publicly. He was making dates for things and scheduling things and sending things around without others in the company knowing.”
Platinum was founded in 1997 after Rosenberg’s success bringing Men In Black to the screen for Columbia/Sony. The company owns numerous comic book properties and in addition to film has attempted numerous TV projects. Only the Showtime series Jeremiah has been produced. The company is involved in several lawsuits stemming from its financial setbacks. In May, Platinum was delisted by the SEC for failure to file financial reports as publicly traded companies are required. Rosenberg has attributed the failure to file to what he tells Deadline was “a system wide server crash, unfortunately including financial servers”. Rosenberg tonight said this information was provided to regulators and that the records will be restored during the first half of 2013.