Former FBI Agent Named Trustee in Bergstein Case

Ronald Durkin will navigate the financial web spun by Capitol and ThinkFilm

Former FBI analyst and forensic accounting specialist Ronald Durkin has been appointed interim trustee in the David Bergstein case.

Acting on a bankruptcy court judge’s orders, Durkin will sift through the convoluted financial web allegedly spun by the film financier. His mission is to see what if any of the tens of millions of dollars that Thinkfilm and Bergstein’s associated companies owes studios, banks and filmmakers still remains.

The appointment of a trustee comes in the midst of a Bergstein-led bid for Miramax. His controversial play for Disney’s indie division is reportedly being backed by Deutsche Bank and a Saudi Arabian investor.

Neither Bergstein nor his lawyer Michael Barnes responded to calls for comment. However, David Molner, managing director of Screen Capital International and one of the leading forces in cobbling the 27 creditors currently suing Bergstein together, hailed Durkin’s appointment.

"As far as finding a trustee, we are grateful that somebody with an DBI background is in charge of this," Molner told TheWrap.

In March, Judge Barry Russell put Bergstein’s Capitol, ThinkFilm, and related entities into trusteeship amid allegations that the companies hadn’t removed payroll taxes, had failed to install proper accounting systems, and that Bergstein had used company accounts to cover gambling debts.

Durkin could not be reached for comment, but according to his biography on the website of Durkin Forensic, the accounting firm he owns, he has extensive experience in white collar crime. In addition to a decade spent as an FBI agent, he oversaw fraud and misconduct investigations for accounting giant KPMG.

© 2008 Los Angeles Times photo by Gary Friedman. Reprinted with permission.