Gold Circle Films, the production company behind “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and the “Pitch Perfect” trilogy, was hit with a $14.1 million judgment in a New York court on Thursday.
The ruling stems from a long-running dispute between Gold Circle and Sandton Capital, a New York hedge fund that acquired some of its debt. Gold Circle borrowed $9.5 million from CIT Lending Services Corp. and U.S. Bank in 2006, and another $45 million from the same lenders in 2008.
Gold Circle found itself unable to fully repay the debt in 2011, and the loan went into default. Rather than pursue their guarantees in court, the lenders sold the debt to Sandton. Gold Circle and Sandton have been waging a legal battle over the outstanding balance since 2015.
On Thursday, New York Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager ruled in favor of Sandton, finding that Gold Circle owes $14.1 million. The ruling followed a two-day trial earlier in the week.
Gold Circle’s attorneys argued that Sandton’s lawsuit was filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations. They also argued that the loans were issued to Gold Circle Finance, a shell company, and were not guaranteed by the parent company, Gold Circle Films.
Ostrager rejected those arguments. In his ruling, Ostrager singled out Scott Niemeyer, the COO of both Gold Circle entities, for criticism, saying his testimony was “less than entirely credible.”
Sandton was represented by Mathew Rosengart of Greenberg Traurig. Gold Circle Films was represented by Michael D. Holtz of the Holtz Firm.