As of Friday, New York sheriffs can physically seize the assets of Manley Prods. if the company doesn’t pay the $ 343,000-plus it owes bankrupt Baio-Brascia-Venokur Prods. for “Hard Rock Nightmare,” according to BBV attorney Neil P. White.
According to a legal judgment, New York-based Manley has not fulfilled a contractual agreement to producers Stephen Baio, Dominick Brascia and Johnny Venokur, despite a Feb. 8 L.A. Superior Court ruling.
The L.A. ruling now applies in Gotham because “We got a sister state judgment in New York based on the L.A. Superior Court judgment,” White explained. The statutory time period expires April 23, and property can be seized thereafter, per White.
Manley’s New York attorney Robert L. Lasky declined comment on that subject.
White said his clients will have Manley’s property seized and that the “bank accounts have been seized” already. However, “It will be a small amount, nowhere near enough funds to satisfy the full judgment.”
Manley topper Walter Manley could not be reached for comment.
White also said Manley no longer has limits on business dealings until the case is settled.
“There has already been issued and served a restraining order upon Manley Prods. in New York, which restrains and prohibits them from transferring any assets whatsoever of the company.
“That would include any rights they have in any films. (Manley) cannot enter into any licensing or distribution deals whatsoever, and if he does, he can be held in contempt of court in New York,” said White.
Not so, according to attorney Paul Lesserman, who repped Manley Prods. in the arbitration in L.A. but now functions strictly in an advisory capacity.
He explained that Walter Manley “also has a company called Manley Sales Corp. and Mr. Manley is not personally liable and the judgment was not against him personally. The judgment was only against Manley Prods. All they have the right to do is seize whatever assets they can find.”
Manley Prods. had its first glimpse of sheriffs during this year’s American Film Market (Daily Variety, Feb. 23). L.A. sheriffs seized property from the Santa Monica Loews Hotel. That property was auctioned April 15.
Meanwhile, the American Film Marketing Association has barred Manley Prods. from participating in next year’s market unless the company pays, according to general counsel Ann M. Kappler of Jenner & Block. “The rules are very straightforward and AFMA’s hands are tied,” she said.
However, on that subject, Lasky said: “I think the matter will be resolved in favor of Manley Prods.” before the AFM.
During the legal battles, “Hard Rock Nightmare” had also been “seized” by creditors.
The pic was foreclosed on by Hilltop Investment Assoc., “who now own the film ,” White said. “They entered into a distribution agreement with OEM (Olympus Entertainment Marketing), which currently has domestic and Canadian distrib rights and that’s why there are videos out there.”
Asked what would happen if Manley Prods. complied with the court judgment before the statutory time limit runs out, White said: “We would rejoice and it would all go away.”