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Ever since celebrity business manager Ken Starr pled guilty to charges related to running ponzi scheme and was ordered to pay nearly $50 million in restitution to victims, a Chapter 7 trustee has been on the prowl to collect old debts. On Wednesday, Planet Hollywood founder Keith Barish joined a list of alleged A-list debtors that includes Harvey Weinstein and Lorne Michaels.
Robert Geltzer, the trustee, filed the lawsuit in New York bankruptcy court against Barish over $341,641 in money allegedly owed for tax preparation services rendered before Starr was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison.
The move comes after Geltzer earlier this month got the judge who oversaw Starr’s criminal case to allow a limited unsealing of a list of victims so as to compare those who have received restitution payments to those making claims on the bankruptcy estate.
During Starr’s heyday, he was one of the entertainment industry’s top business managers with a list of clients reportedly including Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Matt Lauer, Scott Rudin, Ron Howard, Liam Neeson, Martin Scorsese and many others.
Many of these stars might still be entitled to money after having fallen victim to a money manager who stole. And yet, there are other stars who are now being pursued for past arrears.
A $25,000 claim filed late last year against Weinstein remains active as does a $37,500 claim against Michaels. There’s a $1 million claim against celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz and nearly $98,410 against Harold Evans and his wife Tina Brown. They’re all contesting the bill while others like singer/songwriter Paul Simon have struck settlements.
The newest claim against Barish, who executive produced The Fugitive, is notable because of his storied history with Starr. The two have always been described as close.
In fact, in 2002, Sylvester Stallone sued Starr for convincing him not to cash out on a partnership in Planet Hollywood out of loyalty to Barish.
Six years later, Joan Stanton (who voiced Lois Lane on the radio) named both Starr and Barish as co-defendants in a lawsuit that alleged breach of fiduciary duty and fraud over tens of millions of dollars alleged to have been lost by them. The case settled right before Starr’s problems became widely known and he was indicted in 2010 on wire fraud, money laundering and investment advisor fraud.
Barish couldn’t be reached for comment, but the complaint says his attorney has responded to the money demand by asserting that nothing is owed.
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