Johnny Depp is taking his battle with his former business managers to the feds. Deadline has confirmed that the actor has enlisted a trio of U.S. government agencies to look into the Management Group, with which the actor has been embroiled in a bitter dispute over his financial woes.
The keyword above is “probe” — it is not a formal federal investigation, and no governmental agency reached out to TMG.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star filed a $25 million lawsuit against his longtime business managers, claiming that he had been swindled in the Hollywood accounting shell game. “As a result of years of gross mismanagement and sometimes outright fraud, Mr. Depp lost tens of millions of dollars and has been forced to dispose of significant assets to pay for TMG’s self-dealing and gross misconduct,” the suit read.
The defendants, however, were quick to counter, filing a cross-complaint about two weeks later that claimed Depp’s outlandish spending habits were the real source of his money problems. TMG cited, among other examples of cash outgo, the $3 million tab for launching the ashes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s out of a cannon in 2005 and the $2 million he spends every month on expenses.
The bad blood only has ratcheted up in the ensuing months. In May, TMG — aka the Mandel Company and the Management Group — filed a revised multi-claim complaint against Depp that followed a Wall Street Journal interview with the actor that touched on many aspects of the lawsuit and his belief that his money is his to spend as he chooses. Then in June, — after his latest Pirates film hit megaplexes worldwide — emails from Depp’s team were made public that detailed his lavish paydays and debt. The move was part of a motion to oppose Depp’s lawyers’ attempts to quash deposition subpoenas intended to obtain records related to the case.
Then, at a hearing in July, Judge Teresa Beaudet denied TMG’s motion for declaratory relief that Depp “caused his own financial waste” but ruled that its claim of promissory fraud against the Oscar nominee can stand. Ten days later, TMG filed a heavily redacted amended cross-complaint that cited more examples of Depp’s “ultra-extravagant lifestyle” over the 17-year period it repped the actor.
If not settled, the case is set to go before a jury on January 24.