Dinesh D'Souza Prevails in Legal Dispute Related to '2016: Obama's America'
An arbitrator has issued a “final reward” favoring Dinesh D’Souza in a legal battle against Doug Sain over money and ownership stakes in 2016: Obama’s America.
D’Souza had already prevailed in an interim award handed down in December, and the final award dated Feb. 7 and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday resolves the dispute, which has stretched for more than a year.
Sain, through his Sain Communications Inc., was arguing that he deserved 45 percent instead of 25 percent of Obama’s America Foundation, the entity created for the purpose of turning D’Souza’s book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, into a film. The movie, 2016, earned $33 million and became the second most popular political documentary in U.S. box-office history.
Obama’s America Foundation owns 50 percent of 2016 while investors own the other 50 percent.
Sain also sought about $1.6 million for administrative duties he performed, finder’s fees for money he raised and other matters.
Arbitrator J. Richard Haden, though, found that D’Souza raised $2.14 million for 2016 while Sain and another man, Christopher Williams, together introduced just $260,000. Since Sain has already been paid $170,000 in finder’s fees, “he must disgorge $157,000 which he did not earn and has taken without authority,” according to arbitration documents.
Haden also says D’Souza is entitled to $515,000 in finder’s fees for raising $10.3 million for prints and advertising, plus additional compensation of "2.5 percent of net film revenue prior to the further distribution of profits.” D’Souza, though, has already received much of the $515,000.
Haden also said Sain Communications (SCI) “breached its fiduciary duty owed to Obama’s America Fund (OAF) … by misappropriating OAF funds to pay SCI unearned future fixed compensation,” as well as a host of other “misappropriations.”
Sain had also made an issue of D’Souza loaning money to OAF to buy DVDs from Lionsgate, but Haden said the loan was necessary since Sain had frozen OAF’s Wells Fargo business account. Sain also objected to another bulk sale of DVDs to an independent party but Haden said DVD distributor Lionsgate approved of the bulk sale.
Haden said Sain should pay more than $900,000 in legal fees to D’Souza and Williams, and about $830,000 to OAF for unaccounted expenses.
“I’m just relieved to be vindicated on all counts,” D’Souza tells THR.