Film financier David Bergstein is suing his former attorney Teri Zimon for $50 million, alleging that she helped encourage his creditors to drive him into involuntary bankruptcy.
Dozens of creditors have sued Bergstein in bankruptcy court, claiming that he engaged in a complicated shell game to cover up millions of dollars of losses and pay off gambling debts.
Throughout the over a year-long legal struggle, Bergstein has claimed that his former attorney Susan Tregub waged a campaign against him after he refused to pay her money she claimed he owed her and that her efforts helped lead to his financial difficulties.
Now Bergstein is painting a picture of a more complex sabotage plot, one that involved Zimon providing Tregub with confidential financial information and a creditors list while she was working for the film financier.
In a suit filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, Bergstein and his company Graybox charge Zimon with breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence and aiding a breach of fiduciary duty.
After Tregub’s relationship with Bergstein soured in 2009, the suit claims Zimon helped the attorney get back at her old boss by furnishing her with a list of people that the film financier owed money to and might be willing to sue him in bankruptcy court.
“Zimon, along with her friend and her partner-in-crime Tregub, has engaged in an orchestrated campaign that violates the core ethical obligations of the legal profession and then lied and manipulated evidence to cover her transgressions,” the suit reads. “Zimon has made every effort to avoid the day or reckoning but cannot hide any longer.”
Neither Zimon nor an attorney for Bergstein immediately responded to requests for comment.
The suit claims that Zimon engaged in all of these efforts to subvert Bergstein while she was still his counsel. It alleges that Zimon had a friendship with Tregub that pre-dated her work for Bergstein, and claims that Tregub urged him to hire the attorney.
Bergstein also claims that Zimon has gone to great lengths to cover up her efforts on behalf of Tregub, ducking a subpoena and refusing to produce emails and other documents.
Bergstein sued Tregub in March 2010, alleging that she violated her fiduciary duties and breached his confidentiality.
Last spring, a federal bankruptcy court judge pushed five of Bergstein controlled companies into Chapter 11.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
(Photo by the Los Angeles Times)