Former FBI special agent Tim Clemente and his associates at XG Productions have worked on more than 100 true-crime shows for Bellum Entertainment, serving as on-air experts on shows like It Takes a Killer, I Married a Murderer and Corrupt Crimes. But Clemente says he and his colleagues – all former law enforcement officials – are through working for Bellum until they get paid the $50,000 they’re owed in back wages.
“We’re no longer going to provide services to them until there’s reasonably prompt payment for those services,” he said. “That’s our policy.” Clemente said he’s personally owed $5,000 and that one of his associates, another retired FBI agent, is owed $25,000.
The company, whose shows have been on hiatus while it attempts to get its finances in order, told its workers everyone would be paid by the end of this week. But as of today, not everyone has been paid. “I’m still owed $8,000-$10,000,” one worker told Deadline. Numerous other current and former employees have told Deadline they haven’t been paid either.
Bellum CEO Mary Carole McDonnell told employees recently that the company was the victim of bank fraud and had been having problems with its line of credit but insisted the company “is doing well” and promised all employees and vendors would be paid.
Clemente says he’s heard those promises before. “They give all kinds of different excuses,” he told Deadline. “They say, ‘You’ll get it next week,’ or ‘We’re processing it.’ We’ve heard that a lot from them. Clearly, they appear to be in some financial straits. It happens in life, it happens in business. I just wish they would be a little more upfront about it.”
Clemente said when he and his associates first started working for Bellum a few years ago, they were paid the same day they provided services. “Then it became 15 days, then 30 days and then 60, and when it goes past 60 days, that’s when the excuses really start to roll,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Labor, meanwhile, is investigating Bellum and has sent text messages to numerous current and former workers employed there. “I am currently investigating a motion picture production company in Burbank, California, that has misclassified workers as 1099 Independent Contractors instead of ‘employees’ and also has missed/late payrolls,” DOL investigator Robert Lindsey wrote in the texts. “Please contact me if you consider yourself to be a bona fide employee rather than 1099 worker and would like to be included in my investigation for back wages from this company.”
Calls to Bellum were not returned.