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In a legal squabble involving 2016: Obama’s America, a critical look at President Barack Obama that earned $33.5 million at the box office and is the second-most popular political documentary in history, an arbitrator has found in favor of the film’s star, Dinesh D’Souza, against co-producer Doug Sain, according to documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
For more than a year, Sain has claimed his ownership interest in Obama’s America Foundation, a limited partnership made up of investors in 2016, should be boosted from 25 percent to 50 percent. He has also made claims of ownership on some of D’Souza’s books, and he has said that his firm, Sain Communications Inc., should be paid $200,000 in finder’s fees for bringing in investors and an additional $1.4 million for expenses, profits and other matters.
Arbitrator J. Richard Haden, though, said in “interim-award” documentation that Sain “failed to carry his burden of proof on any of his claims.” Haden added that D’Souza and OAF, as the foundation is called, “have met their burden on each of their claims.”
Haden said that, in his opinion, Sain was actually overpaid in some respects and that he should return $157,000. His reasoning is that D’Souza brought in 28 investors for the film who introduced $2.1 million, and that Sain and a partner brought in eight investors who introduced $260,000. Sain and his partner, therefore, should have split $26,000 in finder’s fees, but they took $170,000.
Haden also said that Sain and SCI are not entitled to post-termination compensation and “must disgorge monthly compensation unearned after October 16, 2012, and all unauthorized deferred compensation.”
The arbitrator also said D’Souza owns the rights to the books in question, including The Roots of Obama’s Rage, which 2016 was based on, and that D’Souza is entitled to all P&A finder’s fees, which total $515,000.
Any party has the right to file an objection to the Interim Award by Jan. 3, 2014. Sain and his attorney, Joseph Ergastolo of Wright & L’Estrange in San Diego, did not respond to a request for comment.
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