AFTRA rejects ‘Sordid’ settlement

Union nixes offer to actors from producer Stan Brooks

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has made it official, formally rejecting a settlement offer by producer Stan Brooks to actors who worked on the TV series “Sordid Lives.”

Brooks has warned he’ll file for bankruptcy if members of four Hollywood unions turn down his $242,000 offer to settle alleged nonpayment of $1.6 million for “Sordid Lives: The Series.” Brooks is facing claims of $1.1 million for AFTRA and another $500,000 from the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and the IATSE Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.

The four unions filed a petition in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday to confirm their arbitration award against Brooks and his company Once Upon A Time.

AFTRA issued a “do not work” order against Brooks on July 30 and cast members rejected the settlement offer earlier this week.

Brooks’ attorney Ken Suddleson has said that if the bankruptcy petition is filed, there can be no class actions or other lawsuits against his company, nor will the unions receive “anything close” to the amounts they believe they are owed. “Instead, they will receive a fraction of what Mr. Brooks has offered, because the Guilds will lose any priority and their claims will be lumped in with all other creditors, whose claims approach another $1.5 million,” he added.

Brooks is a longtime TV producer with credits including “Broken Trail,” “Prayers for Bobby,” “At Risk,” “The Capture of the Green River Killer” and “Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss.”

He’s asserted that his financial difficulties stem from the production company losing $700,000 due to the 2008 bankruptcy of payroll company Axium Intl. while “Sordid Lives” was shooting with production being completed thanks to his mortgaging his home and securities.

The comedy series premiered on Logo in 2008 and starred Bonnie Bedelia, the late Rue McClanahan, Olivia Newton-John, Beth Grant and Caroline Rhea.

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