Seagal’s ex-partner out for justice

Nasso in a mad monk funk

Steven Seagal’s longtime producing partner, Julius Nasso, has sued the actor, claiming Seagal pulled out of their partnership when he came under the influence of Mukara, a spiritual adviser associated with a clandestine and unorthodox Tibetan sect.

According to the complaint, filed late Monday in state court in New York, Mukara convinced Seagal that he would not attain the level of a reincarnated lama, or Buddhist monk, unless he dissociated himself from Nasso, his movie production companies and his own children.

On a more worldly note, Nasso is seeking $60 million in damages in lost profits and costs stemming from four Seagal-Nasso films that Seagal allegedly walked away from: “Blood on the Moon,” “Genghis Khan,” “Smash and Grab” and “Prince of Central Park,” starring Harvey Keitel, who was substituted when Seagal refused to appear.

Although the complaint primarily seeks money damages for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, it also expresses the hope that Seagal will take the “higher honorable path” and make the films.

Suit alleges that in 1997, after Warner Bros. terminated its exclusive relationship with Seagal, Seagal-Nasso decided to develop and produce television and film products and share profits. Seagal-Nasso subsequently pre-sold foreign rights to the four films, which were to star Seagal, at AFM for more than $25 million.

Seagal in other pics

Suit also claims that while Seagal failed to honor his commitment on the four Seagal-Nasso films, he appeared in “Ticker” for Nu Image and in “Exit Wounds,” the Joel Silver-produced picture for Warner Bros. According to the complaint, Nasso was instrumental in both projects, but the partnership received nothing even though Seagal was paid approximately $6.5 million for each film.

A spokesperson for Seagal said, “It is shocking that Mr. Nasso would sue Steven Seagal since no monies are owed to him … to the contrary, substantial monies are owed to Steven by Mr. Nasso. After Mr. Seagal lost millions of dollars working with Julius Nasso, it was no longer financially prudent to continue in the business, and Steven stopped working with Julius Nasso. It is apparent that Mr. Nasso is bitter … and has struck back five years later with this ridiculous lawsuit.”

Nasso and Seagal began their partnership in 1987, when Seagal was working for Warner Bros. on his first film, “Above the Law.” During Seagal’s heyday, Nasso acted as a producer on “Hard to Kill,” “Marked for Death,” “Out for Justice” and “Under Siege.” In 1992, Warner Bros. entered into a deal under which Seagal-Nasso would produce “On Deadly Ground,” “Under Siege II,” “Glimmerman” and “Fire Down Below.”

Nasso is represented by attorney Robert Hantman.

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