EXCLUSIVE: Film financier hits back at claims he erased documents and says the court appointed trustee was only trying to embarrass him
Of all the accusations leveled against David Bergstein in the trustee's report briefly released last week, none was more damaging than the allegation that the film financier deleted thousands of pages of financial information.
Writing in a 400-page report, court-appointed forensic accountant Ronald Durkin chronicled a systemic attempt to erase documents beginning when Bergstein was first sued by over 30 debt holders and accelerating during the month his companies were placed under trusteeship.
On Tuesday, Bergstein insisted to TheWrap that no files were deleted and that any documents that Durkin was looking for are housed on one of his employee's computers. To bolster that charge, the film financier cites a sworn declaration by computer consultant Donald Carroll.
In it, Carroll claims that any erasing of files occurred during the accountant's scan of Bergstein's server, and any lost files were later recovered or transferred to another computer.
"I understand that such transfers could be interpreted by forensic software as 'deletions.' However, the files were not deleted from [Bergstein's company's] servers," Carroll says.
Carroll also said says Bergstein instructed him to "cooperate fully with the trustee."
Carroll is identified in the filings as a technology specialist working for Managed Media Service, which was employed by Bergstein to help manage his company's servers and computers.
Leonard Gumport, an attorney for Durkin, did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.
In an interview with TheWrap, Bergstein maintained that the trustee's report contained many misstatements and falsifications. He continued to charge that Durkin — having spent some $3 million to recover assets but finding the five bankrupt companies without any — is trying to pressure his onetime business partner Ronald Tutor into withdrawing his $45 million claim on the company's assets.
"There is no evidence that I deleted any files. This report was intended to embarrass me and to pressure Ron," Bergstein told TheWrap. "In the case of Ron, it has had the exact opposite effect of what was intended. Where he might have been inclined to spend less resources and reach an agreement, he isn't anymore."
Bergstein said the trustee's report contained insinuations, but no hard evidence of any wrongdoing.
The trustee's report was re-sealed last week after Bergstein's lawyers successfully petitioned the court to make the documents private. Bergstein told TheWrap that his lawyers only requested that certain parts of the report relating to his private business affairs and not those of the five companies under forced bankruptcy be removed from public view.
Tutor, a construction magnate, spearheaded a $660 million purchase of Miramax last spring. Bergstein served as an adviser on that sale.
A status conference on the bankruptcy report is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles.
(Photo by the Los Angeles Times)