Dispute over 'Sordid' cast nonpayment of $1.1 mil
Members of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have turned down an offer from Stan Brooks to settle alleged nonpayment of over $1.1 million to the cast of “Sordid Lives: The Series.”AFTRA and Brooks had no comment amid a press blackout Tuesday. The union — which issued a “do not work” order against Brooks on July 30 — has a policy of not commenting on matters under arbitration. An independent arbitrator found last week that Brooks, under the auspices of production entities Once Upon A Time Films and Sordid Lives Prods., owes AFTRA performers of “Sordid Lives: The Series” over $1.1 million dollars in unpaid residuals and late payment penalties for domestic reruns of the program on Logo. That figure totals $1.6 million when claims by the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and about $82,000 from the IATSE Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan are included. It’s understood that Brooks made a settlement offer Monday to the unions for approximately $242,000 in cash, plus additional assets such as library rights along with a request to lift the “do not work” order. It’s believed that AFTRA cast members of “Sordid Lives” unanimously rejected it along with endorsing the idea of keeping Brooks on the “do not work” list — a move strongly recommended by AFTRA. AFTRA’s expected to meet with the other unions Wednesday, followed by a meeting with Brooks, who’s 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 production company lost $700,000 due to the 2008 bankruptcy of payroll company Axium International while “Sordid Lives” was shooting and completed production by 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. The WGA West won an arbitration award last November of $165,907 on behalf of writer-director Del Shores in an unpaid residuals claim against Once Upon a Time. Brooks and Once Upon a Time are on the WGA West’s “strike list,” which covers violations by signatory employers such as failing or refusing to abide by the final award of an arbitrator. Brooks said on Aug. 1 that he did not have the funds to pay the residuals without being forced into bankruptcy.