Film financier, construction magnate to testify

Film financier David Bergstein, his bookkeeper Frymi Biedak and construction magnate Ronald Tutor were ordered on Tuesday to submit to examination under oath about the five involuntary bankruptcy cases involving Bergstein-run companies.

Federal bankruptcy judge Barry Russell also ruled that the three must reveal who is paying their legal fees, saying it’s a “legitimate concern” to know who has an interest in how the assets of the companies are dealt with.

An attorney speaking on behalf of the alleged debtors called the order called the order an “effort to leverage the lawyers against the debtors.”

But Russell countered that he has many concerns about “money flow,” adding “I know what I don’t know…I’m all for transparency.”

Ronald Durkin, appointed by Russell as interim trustee, has been trying for months to get records and sworn testimony from Bergstein, Biedak and Tutor.

Lawyers for the three have insisted that the scope of Durkin’s requests are too broad and have objected to demands for their clients’ sworn testimony along with financial records, including some reportedly stored in Biedak’s computer.

Referring to the objections as “stonewalling,” Russell said he was disappointed, but not surprised at the defendants’ lack of cooperation. He threatened contempt if they fail to comply with his order.

Examination of Tutor is set for July 27. Bergstein is to be questioned on Aug. 3, while Biedak must testify and make files from her office computer available by July 30.

A team headed by Tutor with Bergstein as an adviser has been negotiating to buy Miramax Films from Disney for about $650 million.

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