9:15am PT by Eriq Gardner
Movie Mogul Ted Field Set to Stand Trial for Fraud
Frederick "Ted" Field was once listed by Forbes as one of the 400 richest people on the planet, but according to a civil lawsuit, his fortune has dissipated and he's become a "deadbeat movie producer" who has run a "Ponzi-like scheme." On Wednesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge permitted the plaintiff to add a fraud claim that's partly premised on the way Field allegedly misrepresented himself when soliciting a loan for a remake of Kickboxer, the 1989 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. A trial, originally scheduled for Jan. 23, has also been pushed back to April 10.
Field came to Hollywood three decades ago with a family fortune tied to the Marshall Field’s department store. He co-founded Interscope Records, the legendary hip-hop label whose roster once included Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. And his name is listed as a producer on dozens of films including Revenge of the Nerds, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Jumanji, The Last Samurai and Pitch Black.
Increasingly, he's been appearing in court. A few years ago, Field was involved in a lawsuit with those he accused of hijacking his film company, Radar Films, and dragging it into bankruptcy. Last month, he was ordered to assign payments for several films, including a remake of Jumanji, to satisfy a debt to Johnny Lin/Filmula. The complaint over Kickboxer counts 10 occasions where Field or Radar has been sued in the prior 18 months.
Central Films Media, run by Fernando Sulichin (Snowden, Gimme Danger, London Fields) is the plaintiff, alleging that it extended a $500,000 bridge loan for the Kickboxer remake after Field was "extremely aggressive" in soliciting the money. According to the complaint, the parties executed the contract in November 2014, and Field and his affiliated companies had 30 days to repay. An initial payment came, but Sulichin says further payments have not in alleged breach of the agreement.
Represented by attorney Mathew Rosengart, the plaintiff addresses how Field allegedly promised repayment as soon as other deals came through — the source of the "Ponzi-like" characterization — but the fraud claim also is based on how Field held himself out in discussions for the loan.
Field, states an amended complaint, "intentionally misled Plaintiffs by representing to them that he was the 'CEO' of Acme Kick Productions, LLC. At the time Field made that representation, which was material and made with the intent to deceive Plaintiffs and obtain the funds at issue from Plaintiffs, Field well knew that he was not the CEO of Acme Kick Productions, LLC."
In a deposition, Field admitted he wasn't the chief executive of this company despite what was appearing on loan documents. He said it was a "mistake," that he was the managing partner.
Jonathan Freund, attorney for Field, tells The Hollywood Reporter that being a manager is the same as being CEO.
"The allegation that a professional bridge lender has been defrauded is crazy," says Freund. "It's a ploy to harass him. We're confident the litigation will be resolved and vigorously deny the allegations. [Sulichin] is going to get paid. The film was profitable."
Rosengart says, "Our investigation uncovered a scheme of fraudulent misconduct by Mr. Field, which has been ongoing for years, and my client looks forward to further exposing that fraud and Mr. Field's scheme at trial."