The former CEO of Worldview Entertainment, which helped produce the upcoming “Birdman,” is striking back against allegations that he misappropriated funds, filing a lawsuit accusing the company and former business partners of defamation.
Christopher Woodrow filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of New York on Wednesday that also seeks reinstatement of his executive producer credits on a number of Worldview movies, payment for unpaid wages and recovery of his personal property after he was denied access to the Worldview premises, among other claims.
Maria Cestone, Woodrow’s former business partner, recently filed suit against Woodrow claiming that he and his wife made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus expenses charged against the company. He was removed as CEO in June.
“I have stood by patiently and quietly over the last four and a half months while baseless and meritless claims were made against me, often publicly,” Woodrow said in a statement. “With the filing of this lawsuit against Worldview Entertainment and its principals today, I am happy and relieved to know that my story will finally be heard in a court of law and the truths pertaining to the operation of Worldview will come to light. It’s unfortunate that Worldview’s most successful film to date, ‘Birdman,’ a legitimate Oscar contender, is being released the same week that we find ourselves engaged in a lawsuit.”
Woodrow’s suit claims damages of at least $55 million.
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He said in the lawsuit that in late May, he as denied access to the Worldview offices and was met by Cestone and her staff who prevented him from entering. He claims that a Worldview press release issued on June 2 announcing his departure falsely asserted that he resgined under allegations of personal misconduct. He said that an attorney, Eric Su, sent him a text message that day accusing him of engaging in “corporate theft,” but that he never received any formal termination of his employment.
The lawsuit names Cestone, Worldview, Prospect Point Capital, Roseland Ventures, equity investor Sarah E. Johnson Redlich and chief operating officer Molly A. Conners as defendants.
The suit also contends that defendants accessed his personal e-mail account on at least 108 occasions, and that it as used “to interfere with attorney client relationships as well as personal business relationships.”
Woodrow founded Worldview in 2007.