EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp seemed quite tired and emotional last week at the London premiere for the new Murder On The Orient Express but today the Oscar nominee may be feeling the wolf is at the door, at least legally and residentially.
Nearly a year after Depp and his former business managers start throwing accusations and betrayals at each other in court over millions in the seemingly spendthrift actor’s troubled finances, The Management Group on Monday filed an “action for judicial foreclosure” against the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
Aiming for the heart of what started the lawsuits flying back in January when the actor went after TMG in a $25 million fraud suit, the move Monday is to force a sale of five Los Angeles properties owned by Depp run trusts. Those sales are part of a larger play to repay a $5 million loan TMG made to the strapped actor in December 2012.
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“TMG agreed to come to the aid of its long-time client,” the complaint filed in LA Superior Court today said of a pressing and due City National Bank loan that Depp had no way of meeting and his ex-biz managers got a “pass-through” for. “The idea behind this arrangement, which was designed to save Depp from a public and devastating financial collapse, was that Depp would pay TMG what TMG was required to pay CNB under the loan,” the non-jury trial seeking document adds of the company and its 17-year long client’s deal (read it here).
“At least at the time, Depp and his sister, personal manager, and the president of his production company, (Elisa Christi) Dembrowski, were very grateful to TMG for coming to Depp’s aid and helping him to avoid a public financial collapse,” TMG’s lawyers Michael Kump and Suann MacIsaac assert. “In fact, three years later, Depp used the fact that TMG had lent him money to pressure his long-time agent, United Talent Agency, to guarantee a further multi-million dollar loan from Bank of America,” the duo declare.
These sort of foreclosure actions usually move through the courts faster than most matters and, if a judgment is found in Depp’s disfavor, could see the Sheriff or a marshall snagging the properties within a year and selling them to pay the loan Depp has apparently decided not to.
“Depp paid interest and some principal payments under the TMG/Depp Note until he terminated TMG as his business manager on March 14, 2016,” the 10-page plus exhibits filing states. “After that date, Depp and his new business manager, (Edward) White, have refused to pay any interest or principal on the loan,” it goes on to detail. “Well over $4.4 million is due and owing under the TMG/Depp Note,” the document cites of the big bucks involved as well as fees and interest.
“Although Depp is refusing to pay his debts, he does not and cannot dispute that he received the full benefits of the TMG/Depp Note by avoiding a public calamity in 2012,” the duo from of Tinseltown heavyweights Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP state. “Nor can he dispute that TMG gained nothing from the transactions and instead, became indebted to CNB for $5 million.”
Then there’s that kicker: “However, in Depp’s self-centered world, ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’”
Reps for Depp did not reply to request for comment from Deadline.
In past filings, TMG have detailed what they call “irresponsible and profligate spending” by Depp over the past several years and how repeated attempts to face up to financial realities floundered. “Depp listened to no one, including TMG and his other advisors, and he demanded they fund a lifestyle that was extravagant and extreme,” today’s action reiterates in language similar to past actions in the matter.
This summer Judge Teresa Beaudet ruled that Depp’s personal spending habits were not relevant to the heart of TMG’s fraud case. However, the LASC official said she would let the declaratory relief claim be restated by the company’s lawyers – which they did in a July 20 filing. In filings of his own, Depp has denied such a state of sad financial affairs should to be laid at his feet and in an April interview said that TMG “clearly let me down.”
Today, as in the past, TMG say otherwise.
“As a result of Depp’s uncontrollable spending, which exceeded the net income he received from his films, Depp was forced to borrow large sums of money to fund a lifestyle that continued to become more and more extravagant over the years,” Monday’s fairly detailed filing says. “At the outset, this borrowing was in the form of advances from various movie studios, primarily Disney.”
Today’s filing is another skin unveiled Depp’s finances over the past several months. Unveiling that revealed, first made public in a January 31 TMG cross complaint, the $3 million the Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas star paid out to shoot Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon in 2005 and the more $2-million he forks out in monthly expenses, among other bottom line details.
The dense six-claim filing from TMG sought more $560,000 in unpaid commissions and credit card fees and to halt Depp’s January $25 million suit. They also wanted, and have been fighting for, a court declaration that TMG “complied with all of its fiduciary obligations under the law and that Depp is responsible for his own financial waste.”
Today’s complaint also comes less than a month after Depp sued his ex-lawyer Jacob Bloom for $30 million that the actor claims paid out improperly in fees and self-dealing related to dealings with The Management Group.
Co-starring Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kenneth Branagh, who also directed, Murder on the Orient Express comes out on November 10. A trial on the initial legal battle between Depp and TMG is penciled in to start in August 2018.
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