Bench warrant issued for Bergstein

Embattled executive fails to appear in court Monday

A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of embattled Hollywood executive David Bergstein after he failed to appear Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court to explain what assets he has to pay off more than $1 million owed to a Las Vegas casino.

Bergstein, who is battling a bankruptcy court order that placed five of his companies (including ThinkFilm) under the control of a trustee, was represented in court in by an attorney, but he did not personally appear as Judge Matthew St. George had ordered.

Bergstein, who denies he ever gambled using company funds, has blamed this problem with the Mandalay Bay Casino on his former attorney Susan Tregub, who he is now suing in state court for breaching attorney-client privilege in the bankruptcy proceeding. Tregub has filed a counter suit.

"I wasn't aware of the (Mandalay) lawsuit. Susan seized it, never told me about it and they got a default judgment," Bergstein told THR on April 8. "I'm now taking care of that and reversing it."

Tregub told THR she never handled that case because she is not licensed to practice law in Nevada. "I never represented David in this matter or any other matter relating to a Las Vegas casino," she said. "I never hid anything from him."

Bergstein originally owed $950,000. He made a payment of $150,000 but failed to pay the rest. Mandalay sued him in Nevada, and on Aug. 10, the court entered a judgment against him for $800,000 plus $204,756 in interest, $271 in costs and attorney fees of $30,000.

When that wasn't paid, Mandalay filed a "sister state judgment" in Los Angeles state court. On Dec. 2, according to a legal document, Bergstein was served with papers from that filing at his home in Hidden Hills, where the server reported they were accepted by a "member of his household."

Bergstein, who is involved as an adviser to a group seeking to acquire Miramax from Disney, was then ordered to appear in court to show what assets he has that could be used to pay the judgment. He has failed to appear twice.

Tregub is due back in Superior Court on Tuesday on her motion to dismiss the state court suit against her and move the matter to federal court as part of the bankruptcy filing.

Mandalay also filed a second suit in Superior Court on April 14 charging that Bergstein committed fraud by transferring ownership of homes he owns in Hidden Hills to Sarah Bergstein (believed to be his mother) to keep them from being seized to pay the judgment.

Bergstein and an attorney representing him in the Mandalay case did not return calls seeking comment. An attorney for Mandalay Bay also did not return calls.