12:56pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Film Financier Hounds Sales Agent Ruled to Have Misappropriated Revenue
Last October, a new international sales agency came onto the Hollywood scene. Green-Light International, headed by Jeff Elliott, Chad Moore and Christian de Gallegos, is already experiencing some legal difficulties.
On Tuesday, Raven Asset-Based Opportunity Fund II, a financier of Urge, a thriller starring Pierce Brosnan, and Imperium, starring Daniel Radcliffe, filed a petition in California federal court aimed at confirming an award in its favor against Green-Light. In June, a JAMS arbitrator ruled that Green-Light breached contract by putting receipts from Urge into its personal bank account instead of a collection account. Then, after the arbitrator was told by Raven that Elliott had committed perjury during the proceedings, submitted a false declaration and that he, Moore, and de Gallegos misappropriated and dissipated more than $400,000 of funds, the arbitrator agreed that Green-Light "should be severely sanctioned" to the tune of $63,000 and also ordered to pay attorney's fees.
In the dispute, Raven objected to the way that money from distributors of Urge had landed in a JP Morgan Chase account instead of the one earmarked under Inter-Party Agreements.
Green-Light represented that funding was needed for marketing and attendance at the Berlin International Film Festival, but Raven says it learned that the sales agents didn't attend the fest. In April, Green-Light was fired as Raven's sales agent.
In response, Green-Light alleged that it had been injured when Raven hired a competing sales agent in February to represent Imperium. Green-Light also claimed that it had been defamed when after being terminated, Raven contacted foreign distributors and disparaged the sales agency's personnel. As to the money sitting in a personal bank account, Green-Light contended that it was owed commissions and fees and that it was also entitled to hold onto money to potentially cure any claims from the foreign distributors.
Ultimately, the arbitrator found a lack of merit to Green-Light's arguments and decided that it had a contractual obligation to put receipts in a specific place. Raven still couldn't collect, telling the arbitrator that at the same time that Elliott was supposed to be transferring funds under her order, he was instead publicly sharing on social media vacation pictures from the Italian Riviera.
In the petition to confirm the arbitration award, Raven's attorney Mathew Rosengart notes how Green-Light's "misconduct occurred on the eve of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, during which [Raven's] new sales agent hoped to make foreign 'pre-sales' of the films."
Raven is now seeking a judge to follow the arbitrator by ordering the transfer of monies, a prohibition on spending and further relief including attorneys' fees and costs.
Elliott tells THR that since this is a matter in continued litigation, "it would be inappropriate to comment" on the finding by the arbitrator. Elliott adds that he's looking forward to "telling our side of the story."