LOS ANGELES (CN) - Movie producer Raul Julia-Levy claims in court that philanthropist Elisabeth Thieriot failed to pony up the $500,000 she promised for the movie "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond," that she transferred money from the production account to her own, "absconded with the footage," "usurped (his) creative control over the project," and interfered with his contract.
Julia-Levy's lawsuit this week comes a month after Thieriot sued the entertainment website The Wrap, which published an article about her, allegedly based on information provided by Julia-Levy.
Thieriot was and is a managing member and "the investment member" of R & E Productions LLC, which was formed to make and distribute the movie, the complaint states. Julia-Levy claims that he and Thieriot agreed in February this year to make the movie, which the Superior Court complaint calls a documentary.
(The Maya 520-year calendrical cycle, known as the long count, ends and begins anew this year, which has led to widespread brouhaha among New Agers that the Maya predict that the world, and perhaps universe, will end in November. Actually, the Maya long count predicts no such thing. Their ancient astronomers observed that solar, Venusian and lunar cycles repeat in a 520-cycle, so the Classical Mayas rebuilt their temples to celebrate the occasion. They also believed, apparently, that knowledge of what happened in the previous cycle could help determine what would happen the next time around.)
In his complaint, Julia-Levy claims: "Under the terms of the agreement, Thieriot was obligated to make a capital contribution of $500,000. Thieriot not only failed to comply with her obligations under the contract, but she also actively interfered with plaintiffs own rights and responsibilities under the agreement.
"Thieriot never provided the requisite funds agreed upon in the agreement; instead, in April 2012, she depleted the company's account without giving any notice to plaintiff.
"In fact, on April 17, 2012, Thieriot transferred more than $70,000 from the R&E LLC operating account to her personal account.
"Thieriot unilaterally removed these funds while knowing there were outstanding debts and obligations that R&E LLC would not have sufficient capital to pay. Because plaintiff did not authorize nor agree with said withdrawal, plaintiff filed a fraud report with the bank.
On May 10, 2012, Thieriot closed the R&E LLC operating account and withdrew the remaining funds."
Julia-Levy claims that Thieriot also "absconded" with footage for the movie, which she is trying to control, market and distribute on her own.
He seeks compensatory and punitive damage and court costs on claims of breach of contract, fraud, conversion and unjust enrichment.
He is represented by Brennan J. Mitch, with Jeong & Likens.
In her lawsuit against The Wrap, Thieriot claimed that its writer Steve Pond unjustly portrayed her as stealing footage from the movie and filming in Mexico without a valid permit.
"The Wrap facilitated a fraudulent act of revenge by Raul Julia-Levy, a man with a well-publicized and lengthy history of making false statements to the police and in legal proceedings, in an attempt to wreak havoc of Elisabeth Thieriot's life," according to Thieriot's May 14 complaint, also in L.A. Superior Court.