Bellum Entertainment, the producer and distributor of true-crime shows, has been sued by two different companies, both represented by the same attorneys and claiming that Bellum breached their contracts to the tune of more than $3 million each.
The two breach-of-contract suits, filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, appear to be describing the same 104-episode crime show but with different titles and two different producers. In one suit, the show is called They Kill for It, and the plaintiff is Armageddon Media (read it here); in the other, the series is “provisionally entitled” Ladykillers, and the plaintiff is Adirondack Entertainment (read it here). Other than that, the two suits are identical; they seek the same damages and give the same dates for the payment schedules that Bellum allegedly failed to meet.
Each suit claims that “on or around Feb. 3, 2017, Bellum entered into a commissioning and distribution agreement” with the companies “to produce, complete and deliver a television series of 104 episodes,” and that “Bellum agreed to pay the purchase price of $3,597,000.” Both suits are seeking $3,097,000 in damages.
Bellum recently has been under investigation by the California Labor Commission for alleged nonpayment of wages to dozens of its former workers – including former police officers and FBI agents who appeared as experts on its many crime shows.
As first reported by Deadline, whose coverage is cited in the suits, the Burbank-based producer of reality such shows as It Takes a Killer, Corrupt Crimes, I Married a Murderer and Bizarre Murders has been having trouble meeting its payroll since June, when CEO Mary Carole McDonnell told her employees that the company had been the victim of “significant bank fraud.”
Her nephew, Peter McDonnell, who had been the company’s vice president for 10 years until he quit on July 31, said Bellum owes him in excess of $10,000 and that he is “unaware of any bank fraud,” as his aunt claims