David Bergstein On Tape: Plans to Smear Judge But 'I Don't Want It to Look Like Extortion' (Exclusive)
The legal saga surrounding embattled film financier David Bergstein has taken an outrageous turn.
A previously undisclosed recording of Bergstein was ordered Thursday to be produced in a case in federal court in New Jersey. In the transcript and audio, a copy of which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Bergstein is quoted making scandalous claims -- including allegations involving prostitutes -- against a judge who has been overseeing an involuntary bankruptcy case involving five movie companies Bergstein formerly controlled.
In a telephone conversation recorded in March 2012, Bergstein tells Parmjit “Paul” Parmar, who was at the time a business associate, that through “a crazy coincidence” he has learned the judge in his case is “seeing hookers in hotels and e-mailing the representative of the hooker about meeting,” according to the recording.
Bergstein goes on in the recording to tell Parmar that the prostitute is “an illegal” who has “citizenship problems.”
“[The judge] sends her to a law firm,” says Bergstein in the recording, “tells the law firm, ‘You represent her and you know, do me a favor,’ which he is not allowed to do.”
Bergstein then says that he is planning to “do something with the information, but I have to do it by way of simply filing something with the U.S. Attorney because I don’t wanna let him know that -- I don’t want it to look like extortion. I basically wanna out him.”
The phone exchange is on a tape recording that Parmar agreed to turn over in March in response to a demand by Bergstein’s attorney during a deposition in the case of Pineboard Holdings, Inc. vs. Elden Associates Inc., Elaine Young and Dennis Young, which is proceeding in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. The case is one of several involving Bergstein to wind through the courts since his former companies were forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 2010.
A spokesperson for the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles declined to comment.
Bergstein tells Parmar during the recorded call that the litigation against him has “damaged me in business forever, but setting that aside, it's done a lot of other horrible things.”
Although Parmar, who partnered with Bergstein in numerous business deals and film financings between 2005 and 2010 -- including the movies Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and the never-released Black Water Transit -- is not named in the case, he was deposed because one of the defendants, Dennis Young, is a former employee of his.
Parmar recorded more than 150 hours of conversations with Bergstein over several years. He agreed to turn over the tapes in the New Jersey case and in a similar proceeding involving Bergstein in Los Angeles. In that case, Bergstein was successful in getting the judge to seal the tapes.
In the New Jersey case, the tapes had been kept private as privileged, but Thursday federal Judge Madeline Cox Arleo ordered Parmar to produce the documents and recordings listed on a privilege log.
Reached for comment, Bergstein attorney Alex Weingarten says the recordings were made illegally and without Bergstein's knowledge. Weingarten also claims that the tapes are still subject to a privilege in the New Jersey case.
Parmar, however, has said through his attorney that Bergstein knew of Parmar's practice to tape every conversation. Parmar entered into evidence in another Bergstein lawsuit e-mails suggesting Bergstein knew and told others it was Parmar’s practice to tape his calls.