Flattened by a crushing wave of negative publicity in the wake of the news he had bid to buy Miramax from Disney, David Bergstein, the debt-riddled financier, is now giving a public explanation for his predicament:
It’s everybody else’s fault.
In an interview
with Alex Ben Block at the Hollywood Reporter, Bergstein blamed one of his main creditors, Aramid Entertainment led by managing director David Molner, for compounding his financial failures.
“Essentially Aramid’s take on the matter was they couldn’t get what they want to win fairly so they organized a very inappropriate involuntary bankruptcy filing which will get cleared up,” he said.
That was pretty much it. Bergstein said that the collapse of a hedge fund, DB Zwirn, in 2008 caused a liquidity crisis for his company, and he’s been struggling ever since.
“A lot of problems happened (because of Zwirn) that caused legitimate problems to third parties where they couldn’t get paid on time,” said Bergstein, adding: “We did the best we could but people don’t care.”
Yes, well, and if you believe that you: a: haven’t read the court papers and b: are on my list to buy that old bridge in Brooklyn.
I was not joking when I wrote recently that Bergstein is one of the most despised people in Hollywood, having left everyone from gaffers to publicists to actors chasing after him to get paid.
Ben Block has a longstanding relationship with Bergstein. Back in 2008 Bergstein also gave him an interview, with more excuses for the mounting anger against him within the filmmaking community. I wrote about it then,
Bergstein already had a series of lawsuits filed against him and numerous creditors. His comment at the time: “Our business plan is not so much about the movie business … It’s really to build a global digital distribution business. It’s based on the expectation that in the not too distant future most content will be delivered digitally and on-demand.”
This time Ben Block seems not to have asked Bergstein tough questions about the series of shell companies that he apparently used to hide assets, avoid creditors and duck financial responsibility when his companies successively failed.
TheWrap’s Brent Lang took a close look
at this recently and wrote: “So byzantine were the web of companies, that after Bergstein’s company Capitol Films was put in administration, the first company to bid on its film library was Veritum — which, conveniently, happened to be controlled by Bergstein.”
Here’s another question worth probing, which Lang took from court papers: “Bergstein purportedly went through chief financial officers like tissue paper, as many as five different CFOs in 22 months.”
It is for this reason that a judge froze Bergstein’s assets and appointed a trustee to go through the claims of his dozens of creditors, which include most of the major Hollywood guilds, trying to get their members paid from Bergstein’s abortive movies.
Bergstein did deny that he had used THINKFilm money as collateral to get gambling markers at the Mandaly Bay in Las Vegas for $950,000.
He never used company funds to pay gambling debts, he said. “All I’ve done is continue to put money into it (his company),” he said, “not pull money out of it.”
As I said: Bergstein’s also got a bridge in Brooklyn.