Tony DeRosa-Grund brought some big guns to his war with Warner Bros and its New Line Cinema division today. Already battling the studio in the courts, The Conjuring producer has now charged New Line and its Biz and Legal Affairs head Craig A. Alexander with violating federal racketeering laws.
“The case has no merit, and we will vigorously defend it,” a Warners spokesperson told me today. But DeRosa-Grund has a lot more to say.
“As a result of Defendants’ overt racketeering acts of mail and wire fraud, obstruction of justice and money laundering, Plaintiffs suffered and are continuing to suffer injury to their business and property including but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of benefits and loss of reputation,” reads the complaint filed today in Houston federal court. DeRosa-Grind is seeking a jury trial, major unspecified damages, legal fees and a declaration that New Line and Alexander have violated the often more organized crime-oriented RICO Act.
With a lot of the same details as previous lawsuits by DeRosa-Grund against WB and NLC and others, this is the first time RICO charges have entered this ghostly picture, Essentially, DeRosa-Grund and his family trust allege that NLC played fast and loose in documents submitted to bankruptcy court in 2010 and cheated the producer out of various fees and credits.
In fact, the filing alleges that this is the M.O. of NLC. To that end, today’s filing cites the ongoing dispute between WB subsidiary and Harvey and Bob Weinstein over The Hobbit sequels. DeRosa-Grund’s complaint says NLC tried to “cheat” Miramax out of “intellectual rights and income-related rights” from the hugely successful Middle Earth movies. After a brief turn in court, that matter is being handled in arbitration.
After months in arbitration with Warners over the sequel rights over the hugely successful 2013 horror flick, DeRosa-Grund first filed a breach-of-contract complaint against the studio and New Line Productions in late March. That was followed by a second lawsuit in April. The thing is DeRosa-Grund himself was sued in early September by an investor who claims he actually holds many of the rights to the lucrative franchise. Now there’s more paperwork and more lawyers to be paid in this scary matter.
As in DeRosa-Grund’s previous complaints, the Houston firm Dow Golub Remels & Beverly is repping the producer. Charles Grimes and Michael Patrick of Norwalk, CT-based Grimes LLC are acting as Of Counsel to the plaintiffs.