Anchor Bay Seeks $3 Million Malibu Home as Penalty for 'U.N.C.L.E.' Deception
Starz subsidiary put up $625,000 for rights to a classic 1960s TV show, but never got paid - and is now suing for the property instead.
Anchor Bay Entertainment has its eye on a multimillion-dollar property in Malibu.
It's no ordinary property.
The DVD distribution arm of Starz Media is now claiming the property as the price for having been duped into thinking it held rights to the classic TV series, Man From U.N.C.L.E.
More than six years ago, Anchor Bay was approached by a woman named Lindsay Dunlap, who got the company to fork over $625,000 for exclusive licensing rights to master recordings on U.N.C.L.E. plus DVD bonus extras. All was fine until Warner Bros. alerted Anchor Bay that rights to the 1960s TV show about international espionage didn't actually belong to Dunlap.
So Anchor Bay took Dunlap to court to get money back plus more for fraud, and in 2010, after a nine-day jury trial, Anchor Bay was awarded more than $3.2 million by a judge.
Unfortunately, getting a headline and getting a 9-figure check from a defendant are two different things. Six years after Anchor Bay put up money for nothing, the company is still attempting to be made whole.
Now, in a pre-Thanksgiving gambit, Anchor Bay has filed another lawsuit in LA Superior Court against Dunlap as well as the John Yuka & Giulia Family Trust.
According to the complaint, during the midst of an earlier legal action, Dunlap purported to "quitclaim" the Malibu home to Yuka. Essentially, that means she terminated her right to the property to someone else.
Anchor Bay alleges it was just another fraud perpetrated by Dunlap. The company says the transferring of the property "was designed to hinder and delay judgment collection by STARZ."
And it points to this funny line of questioning of Dunlap in a debtor proceeding:
Q: So you quitclaimed it to?
A: John Yuka Trust
Q: Okay. What consideration did John Yuka Family Trust give you for transferring the property?
A: It was in lieu of a large debt.
Q: Debt that you owed to the John Yuka Family Trust?
A: One of the members of that trust.
Q: What member?
Q: John Yuka?
Q: John. What's John's last name?
Q: That's your ex-husband, right?
Q: And what debt did you owe Mr. Minghella?
A: My best estimate, in the way I value it because he gave up his career for me, millions of dollars.
Q: So you gave him a house for that?
According to the latest lawsuit, Dunlap continues to reside at this same property originally purchased for more than $3 million "for free." Anchor Bay, having been disappointed out of U.N.C.L.E. rights, now sees it as a consolation prize.
Dunlap couldn't be reached for comment.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @eriqgardner