Fox Sues Over Alleged 'The Post' Location Damage Scam

The Post Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox

Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and Meryl Streep in the newsroom.

The Oscar-nominated film The Post has sparked a lawsuit featuring a dramatic twist, as 20th Century Fox claims it was defrauded by a shell company that lied about owning a location the studio rented for the film. 

Fox paid a company called White Plains Development $300,000 to use a piece of property in the suburban New York city of White Plains for filming in the spring and summer of 2017. It also paid a $100,000 security deposit, which was supposed to be returned within five days after Fox vacated the premises unless there was a damage claim made within the first 48 hours.

More than a month after it left the property, and after several requests for the deposit to be returned, Fox says it received a list of illegitimate and fabricated damages.

"[M]any of damages alleged by White Plains Development were simply moot, given that the Property was scheduled for demolition," writes attorney Jonathan Zavin in the complaint. "Upon information and belief, the Property is currently being converted from an office building into a residential building with more than 200 rental units."

According to the complaint, because of the conversion the location agreement gave Fox permission to make renovations to the property, including removing non-load-bearing walls, installing light fixtures and painting. Yet many of those actions are listed among the damages that White Plains Development uses to justify the deposit being withheld. 

Further, Fox claims that White Plains Development doesn't actually own the property — and the company has since been emptied of all assets including the deposit. 

"[Aaron] Wexler, who executed the Location Agreement on behalf of White Plains Development, deliberately concealed the true owners of the Property at the time the Location Agreement was signed and used the White Plains Development corporate entity to commit fraud and unlawfully abscond with Fox’s Security Deposit," writes Zavin. "This Court should pierce the corporate veil of White Plains Development and hold Wexler and any other owners of White Plains Development personally liable for the damages Fox has incurred."

Fox is suing for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Wexler has not yet responded to a request for comment on the complaint.