Entertainment conglomerate Polygram has filed a $5 million lawsuit against Mitchell Maxwell, producer of the 1994 Damn Yankees revival, claiming he improperly used money from the Broadway production to pay for the current national tour, starring Jerry Lewis.
Daily Variety and other newspapers reported that the suit filed in New York State Supreme Court claims that Maxwell and his Working Man Films "engaged in a systematic pattern of misappropriation, self-dealing, fraud and deceit" that sank the Broadway production while boosting the tour.
Polygram Diversified Theatrical Entertainment had invested nearly $1 million in the production. The suit claims that a two-month hiatus in January and February 1995 to get Lewis up to speed, ate up nearly all the $830,000 reserve fund, which should have been distributed to investors, including Polygram. Lewis had demanded a Broadway run before he went out on the road. Lewis played about six months on Broadway.
Maxwell's attorney Danie Kornstein was reported by Daily Variety to have called the suit "baseless and without merit."
In addition to the $5 million, the suit seeks to impound all profits from the tour in a trust fund until the suit is settled. -- By Robert Viagas