Bob Yari Prods. files for bankruptcy

Firm is in midst of legal battle with UTA over Chappelle film

Bob Yari Prods. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. court Wednesday in the wake of an ongoing legal battle with UTA.

Papers were filed under the name Persik Production, which Yari described as "just a holding company" that was serving as guarantor for other obligations.

"It won't affect our production going forward," he said. "It's just a reorganization of the existing library that will isolate obligations from our past library."

Yari was forced to put the releasing arm of Yari Film Group into bankruptcy more than a year ago after four creditors took action against the company.

Since then, he has battled with attorneys for UTA over commissions from the 2006 comedy "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," which he produced. UTA argued in the arbitration that Yari's financial situation might render his company unable to pay a judgment. In August, arbitrator Stephen Strick took the rare step of ordering Yari to put $350,679.06 -- the amount of Yari's alleged unpaid commissions and interest -- into a safe account pending the case's outcome.

According to court documents, Yari appealed the order in September. UTA responded by arguing that the appeal doesn't stay enforcement of the court's order unless Yari posts an undertaking, which apparently never happened.

Last week, Judge Craig Karlan appointed a receiver, and he was scheduled to sign an order Thursday authorizing him to take over Bob Yari Prods. Yari filed for bankruptcy before he could do that.

"It's our belief that all of their actions were taken to hinder and avoid their creditors, and we intend to prove that," UTA lawyer Bryan Freedman said. "Certainly, United Talent Agency is looking to file a fraud claim to have the debt they are running from declared, and I would imagine a lot of creditors will be filing claims."
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