Guilds spurn Stanley Brooks' settlement offer

Actors reject 'pennies on the dollar' offer on unpaid residuals

The Hollywood talent guilds that have been trying to collect unpaid money and residuals from producer Stanley M. Brooks relating to Logo's "Sordid Lives: The Series" are poised to reject his offer to settle $1.6 million in debts for 16 cents on the dollar.

AFTRA, the DGA and the WGA West have made their decisions while the IATSE pension fund has yet to make its final decision. The guilds held a meeting Wednesday at AFTRA headquarters after polling their affected members.

The union members who attended meetings or spoke to their guild reps this week were apparently unanimous in rejecting the offer.

"I did not give less than 100% of my time or talent to this project and I will not accept to be paid anything less than 100% of what is owed me plus penalties," actress and AFTRA member Caroline Rhea said from Scotland, where she is performing in a play.

"I will not settle for pennies on the dollar even if it means lining up with Stan Brooks' other creditors in a bankruptcy court," actor Leslie Jordan said.

"After more than a year of waiting for Stan Brooks to keep his promises to pay us our residuals," actress Lorna Scott said, "my castmates and I have decided to fully pursue any and all legal means to retrieve our back wages."

Barbara Lawrence, who was the manager for the late "Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan and is now representing her interests, said the actress was "furious" about what was happening "not just for herself, but for all the other actors who needed that money for their livelihood. She would never have wanted 'pennies on the dollar,' and I cannot accept that on her behalf."

"In all my years in the business," said Bonnie Bedelia, "I've not experienced anything from a producer approaching this kind of blatant disregard. And how, in light of all this, is he the chair of the California Film Commission?"

Del Shores, who was director and writer on "Sordid," also told his guilds that he has rejected the settlement offer. Brooks, said Shores, "has proved time and time again that contracts are meaningless to him, that he will do anything to avoid paying our residuals, and if settlements are reached, they are not honored. Why the hell should we 'settle?' "

Shores was referring to an earlier deal involving his unpaid fees done with the DGA this year. Some payments were made but they stopped in July, and Brooks defaulted on the remainder, according to Shores.



Brooks, through his attorney, did not respond to a request for comment, while AFTRA said it couldn't comment since the process is ongoing. The WGA would not comment, and a call to the DGA was not returned.

Sources say that at a meeting with guild reps and AFTRA actors on Tuesday, the members were told that they were owed $1.179 million, and when WGA, DGA and IATSE pension fund money was added, the total hits $1.6 million. There also was said to be $1.4 million in other money owed beyond that relating to the 2008 series.

Brooks' legal reps apparently offered $242,000 to settle the $1.6 million debt, of which more than $90,000 is money they have already received or collected from cable net Logo but has not passed on to the actors, writer and director owed the residuals.

That prompted the actors to demand that money be distributed immediately, before any settlement is discussed.

Actress Ann Walker, whose video of her confronting Brooks at a California Film Commission meeting is on YouTube, said the actors voted unanimously not to accept the settlement. They want to know why Brooks has not billed Logo for another $229,000, which is due and would be paid if asked.

"We are not only taking the stand for us," Walker said, "but for all those in the past that Brooks has cheated and to prevent others from suffering from Stan Brooks' unscrupulous business practices."

Shores, who has said that the loss of income cost him his home, believes there are additional foreign residuals that haven't been collected or paid as well, and he is investigating that.

Brooks has said that his problems stem from the loss of about $700,000 in early 2008 when Axium, a payroll service, went bankrupt.
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