At the end of October 2016, Johnny Depp dined in a picturesque backyard in the house of Ed White, his new business manager. It was in Bel-Air. The company was made up of two forensic accountants plus a guest from Washington, Adam Waldman, a lawyer whose clients include Angelina Jolie and Cher. Served all a whole team of waiters, served French wines from White cellars and cooked-to-order meals. However, the occasion for the meeting was sad – they discussed the state of Depp’s finances.
The actor did not hide: he was crushed. In the end, he gets paid twenty million dollars for the film. How could you manage to run aground so that his former business manager Joel Mandel said: will you have to sell the basic assets, for example, the castle on the French Riviera? Depp, dressed like a pirate – a leather jacket in rivets, scarves, bracelets, rings, – told Waldman: “I’m not a lawyer. I’m not an accountant. I’m not so educated as to even help my fifteen-year-old son with homework on mathematics. I always relied on people who are next to me. ” And they, Johnny is sure, let him down. Poor believed his piastres.
White’s accountants claim to have discovered shortcomings in the actions of Depp’s former business managers – Robert and Joel Mandel and their company The Management Group (TMG), which ran the finances of the star. Among other things, as lawyer Waldman later stated, they were late with the payment of income tax and delayed the transfer of money to third parties “close to Mr. Depp or his staff, without the knowledge and consent of Mr. Depp.” In total, close, including the sister of the actor (who is also his personal manager) Christy Dembrowski, did not receive on time about ten million dollars. These and other violations, Waldman says, forced Depp to borrow tens of millions of dollars at high interest rates against future royalties. The Mandel and TMG brothers categorically reject charges, calling them “fabricated and knowingly false.” Hollywood business managers are invisible people. Mandelie earlier, too, did not light up in the scandals. Before the story with Depp, assures their lawyer, none of the important clients had any claims to them.
“How much did Johnny earn in seventeen years, while the Mandel brothers represented him?” Waldman White asked during that dinner in the backyard. “Six hundred and fifty million dollars,” White replied. Five percent of this amount was paid to the TMG group, another five percent was received by Depp’s attorney Jake Bloom. Total: sixty-five million dollars. At the end of dinner, Waldman recalls, Depp asked: “Will you represent me?” Can you get to the bottom and give me advice? ”
Waldman agreed. Together with White and eight other lawyers, he analyzed about twenty-four thousand e-mail messages. On 13 January last year, Depp’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against TMG to recover the twenty-five million damages caused by negligence, fraud, improper enrichment and other wholly filibuster actions. Eighteen days later, TMG responded with a counterclaim. In a thirty-page document, the company accused Depp of monstrous extravagance: despite repeated warnings from his manager, he allegedly refused to curb his “selfishness, unbridled and irresponsible.”
By 2013, representatives of TMG said, Depp’s spending reached $ 2 million a month. The suit of the Mandel brothers includes a description of the fourteen properties purchased by Depp over the years – including four Bahamian islands and a castle in France. In addition, the list includes a forty-seven-meter yacht and twelve warehouses in Los Angeles, packed with expensive things not only to the actor’s heart: there are among other things the works of Klimt, Modigliani, Basquiat and seventy collection guitars. In the three hundred thousand dollars a month, forty employees are costing Depp, although the new lawyer Waldman claims that there are only fifteen of them, including freelance consultants. 24-hour security of Depp, his two children (the eighteen-year-old daughter of Lily-Rose and the fifteen-year-old son of John Christopher) and other family members – that’s another hundred and fifty thousand dollars a month. Thirty thousand a month – wine, delivered from around the world. In 2005, five million dollars was spent on a wake for writer Hunter Thompson: a special cannon was made on special orders, from which they shot a man in the dust of the deceased. Depp idolized Thompson and later told his lawyer: “If I had only five million and one dollar, I would still have done it. He was my brother. ” Ended last year for his peace marriage with actress Amber Heard, which lasted only fifteen months, cost Depp another seven million dollars. Ironically, Johnny and Amber met on the set of the film “Roma diary”
“For seventeen years, TMG filed tax declarations of Depp in a timely manner and, as far as the funds allowed, paid its income tax on time,” – TMG lawyer Michael Kamp answers the statements of Attorney Depp. All delays in payments “have always been associated with Depp’s exorbitant costs and never – with the unfairness of TMG.” Accusations that the Mandel brothers were spending money behind the star’s back, a lawyer also sweeps: “For seventeen years, TMG has not carried out any financial transaction with Depp’s capital without agreement either with him personally or with his sister.”
Both parties require a jury trial. The trial is scheduled for this month. Depp insists on recovering from former managers at least twenty-five million dollars. Those who claim compensation in the amount of five hundred and sixty thousand dollars and expect that the court will issue a verdict in the spirit of “Mr. Depp himself is to blame.”
So who is Johnny Depp? Poor lamb in the teeth of fierce wolves from Hollywood Wall Street? Or a quirky crook, Captain Jack Sparrow in real life? “Money does not change a person,” the actor once said. – They open it … I’m still the same guy from the gas station. ” A guy from Kentucky came to Hollywood in 1983, a nineteen-year-old guitarist in a rock band that was of no interest to anyone. From school he flew, was considered a minor offender, for a soul, not a penny. He lived in a kennel, tried to get a job in a shop, then in a shop at the crossroads of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, “he sold the hands on the phone to get somehow fed,” as he later told himself. First wife Laurie Ann Ellison introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage. “He decided to reduce me to an agent,” Depp recalled. Cage believed,
In 1984, Depp received a minor role in the horror film Wes Craven “Nightmare on Elm Street,” then in “Platoon” Oliver Stone, who received the “Oscar”. Then there was a successful series “Jump Street, 21”. Mask “telemalchika” would stick to him tightly, if not for the new agent Tracy Jacobs. She got a strange script. “It was a story about a guy with scissors instead of hands – a shy, obnoxious outskirt,” Depp said. “I immediately read it and wept like a child.”
“Edward Scissorhands” Tim Burton became a sensation in 1990 and made Depp a star. Over the next nine years, the actor starred in three equally strange films – “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “Ed Wood” and “Don Juan de Marco.” Things went uphill, and he settled in the “Castle Dracula” – a fantastic heap of towers, built in 1927 and towering over Boulevard Sunset.
In 1999, Depp and his sister hired the Mandel brothers. Their group TMG by that time had successfully worked for twelve years. The brothers have a division of labor: Robert is a tax lawyer, Joel is an attorney for transaction support. Mighty clients rely entirely on brothers in financial matters: they delegate collecting royalties from studios, paying bills, filing declarations and paying taxes, and accounting.
At the first meeting with the new client, Joel Mandel arrived at Depp Castle. Just like in the movie “Sunset Boulevard”, he was taken to a gothic mansion, filled with works of art. Johnny, who was then thirty-six, greeted a lawyer in his office, stuffed with books, collectible weapons, guitars and other heavy suits. The actor was kind, charming, attentive and was an excellent listener. Previously, in many matters relating to business, he relied on his sister. Now Joel Mandel had to take the reins of government.
According to a source close to TMG, Depp was asked to continue consulting with Joel Mandel, when the actor decided to spend hard earned. And was was what to spend. In 2003, Depp starred in the first of five parts of the Pirates of the Caribbean. For it, he received eleven million dollars, for each subsequent series – for twenty million. Still, as reported, forty-odd million brought interest from the profit from the hire.
Payments to the studio went to TMG without interruption, and Depp has become more clearly manifested feature, which the company later calls in the lawsuit “an irresistible craving for money.” It started with a yacht. After leading Depp to the movies, Nicolas Cage showed him what it means to live in a big way: he managed to sip an estimated one hundred and fifty million dollars and in 2009 went bankrupt. Cage lent Johnny’s friend one of his two boats, a forty-meter Sarita. When Depp, with his then-girlfriend Vanessa Paradis and two children landed in the Bahamas, real estate brokers already met them with bread and salt. Depp only expected this: a few years before, after filming with Marlon Brando in the film “Don Juan de Marco,” he visited Tetiaroa, a private atoll of Brando in the South Pacific. And he fell in love with native life.
In 2004, Joel Mandel went with Depp on a cruise – to look after the island for a purchase. In the Bahamas, for three million six hundred thousand dollars, Little Holls-Pond-Kay was sold – a chain of four islets southeast of Nassau. When our corsairs landed there, it turned out that the islets are uninhabited in all senses of the word. There were six sandy beaches, that’s all. No running water, no sewage, no electricity. Joel focused attention on the disadvantages (exorbitant costs of building infrastructure), Johnny saw some advantages (a great refuge for him and the family). It was not possible to discourage Depp from buying the manager. However, he managed to bring down the price – up to three million two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars.
Depp’s lawyer argues that the acquisition of islands in the Bahamas and other real estate was an excellent investment for the actor, that now this property is estimated several times more expensive than at the time of purchase. But if you have an island, you need a yacht. Depp dreamed of a ship with a pipe and masts. This was found in Turkey – Anatolia, a replica of an old steam-powered yacht built in 2001. For her asked eight million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Another eight million were required for refurbishment.
Realizing that Mandel, as usual, will include a clever Jew under the governor, Depp, they say, sent him his piercing sister first. As a result, Mandel agreed to spending – provided that Depp retired a year in two studio films or earned somehow another forty million dollars. “Understood. I agree, “the actor replied.
A crew of eight people worked on the steamer, maintenance and operation costs ranged from three hundred to four hundred thousand dollars a month. Depp christened his yacht Vajoliroja: Va – Vanessa, jo – Johnny, liro – Lily-Rose and ja – on behalf of the son, whose family name is Jack. Decorate the ship, he commissioned the company LM Pagano Design from Malibu.
What happened, the Vanity Fair magazine called the “Paris brothel on the Orient Express.” The newly-bred Lord of the Sea “Dracula’s Castle” in Hollywood now seemed a little cramped. Depp decided to buy houses around him. There it was planned to place an art studio, a guest house for his mother and friends, and the most spacious building was intended for an ultramodern recording studio. On all it was required any ten millions.
However, Joel Mandel did not believe that Depp’s income for 2007 would allow such pampering. In the text of the lawsuit it is noted that the actor pulled away, with him it became difficult to contact, in response to the comments of lawyers about excessive expenses, he burst out into curses. The plaintiffs quote “hundreds of conversations” at face-to-face meetings, by phone and e-mail, which began quite amicably, and then turned into “full foul language.” Depp “insulted the collaborating professionals and argued that he would work harder to afford to buy whatever he wanted.”
By this time, Depp needed to earn more than sixty million dollars a year (before taxing and before paying agency commissions). Depp agent Tracey Jacobs and her team climbed out to find new projects for him. “Find something decent and well-paid became increasingly difficult and difficult,” says an insider from the film industry. “His fees start at ten million dollars, and films that are paid for that kind of money are not being filmed much.”
What brought money did not always bring fame. The “Superiority”, “Mordecai” and “Lonely Ranger” failed. To put it mildly, the advertising of the men’s fragrance Dior Sauvage looked funny, for the shooting in which Depp was reported to have received sixteen million four hundred thousand dollars.
By October 2012, the situation had escalated so much that, as stated in TMG’s lawsuit, “Depp faced a potential threat of a financial crisis that would force him to stop paying on the multimillion-dollar loan issued by CNB.” The bank demanded repayment of a loan of $ 5 million, but “Depp did not have the means to pay this debt because of the refusal to reduce exorbitant costs.” Joel Mandel arrived at Depp’s recording studio, along with his attorney Jake Bloom. Clever people cried for three hours to the acting mind. Johnny does not like to read long financial documents, so they prepared a squeeze for one page, but Depp did not even look at her. It was necessary to explain on the fingers that it was necessary to take “urgent measures”.
“To save Depp from public shame and the final financial collapse,” TMG lent him five million to repay the loan. As security for the loan agreement, there were two real estate properties in Hollywood. Yacht Vajoliroja sold at the end of 2013. Only the money I received was still not enough.
At some point, as they say, Joel Mandel went so far as to ask people close to Depp to tell him about any extraordinary expenses of the actor. The manager wanted to intervene in a timely manner and if not to prevent the deal, then at least try to knock down the price. At his e-mail immediately fell on the slander. Los Angeles: “Johnny bought ten boxes of wine … The total amount is two hundred and ninety thousand dollars plus tax.” New York: “Johnny went to the jewelry store Fred Leighton and spent five hundred thousand dollars on diamond cufflinks and other ornaments.”
He learned about many purchases only when he received the bill. For example, on September 22, 2014 he was called by a lawyer from New York and said that Depp bought the archive of Nick Toshes – quite a living writer, a good journalist, author of Vanity Fair and Esquire, but still not Hunter Thompson. Negotiations, apparently, took place at night in the London hotel Dorchester. Paper cost the actor in a million two hundred thousand dollars. The message plunged Mandel into perplexity. He asked for evidence and received an e-mail photo. On the Dorchester logo with the Depp hand, it was written: “I, Johnny Depp, hereby express my consent to purchase the archives of St. Nick Toshes for $ 1.2 million. Johnny Depp”. In addition to the signature, the agreement, judging by specific spots, was sealed with blood. Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, that “most of this information is untrustworthy, knowingly false, or have absolutely no relation to this trial. Mandel contrasts our specific charges with a defense strategy based on false conclusions. The financial problems of Mr. Depp, as Mandel calls it, are not the subject of the Deep v. Mandel case. ”
The pendulum swung towards Depp on February 7 last year, when he received an anonymous email. The letter referred to one of the former employees of TMG – a woman who worked with his accounts.
“She knows about all the dirty tricks and theft!” – was said in the message. On May 26, Depp’s lawyers released testimonies given by former employee of TMG, Janine Reiber, during the preliminary investigation. From the testimony followed: Rayburn received an order “to commit improper actions related to the client account Depp.”
In their appeals to the court, TMG representatives characterize Reybern as “an inveterate liar” and claim that, while giving evidence in the preliminary investigation, she lied twelve times. Her work “was not associated with a full-blown responsibility for Depp’s customer account”, her duties included only “bill payment and data entry”. In addition, she worked at TMG for only two years and talked to Depp “only a couple of seconds” during the party. In response, the lawyer of the “liar” said: “Janine Reybern has been in business management for more than thirty years. She is respected by clients and works tirelessly for their benefit. In accordance with the law, she was obliged to appear for the preliminary investigation in the Johnny Depp case against TMG and honestly answered all the questions asked to her. ”
On June 19 TMG lawyers filed a petition, attaching a selection of emails to it. There was also a message sent to Depel Joel Mandel at the end of 2009. From the text it follows that the actor clearly understood how much it is necessary for him to earn more. “The numbers on February 15 or so will begin shooting” Tourist “, this is twenty million, – writes the star. – Then immediately, “Pirates 4” for thirty-five million, and after that – “Dark Shadows,” another twenty million … What else can I do? Do you want me to sell a picture? Okay. Sell. Do you want me to sell something else ??? Of course … What ?? I have bicycles, cars, houses, books, paintings, and there is still some kind of soul. Where do I begin??? I do not like the way things turned out, but there was no choice. The last decent fee I got for “Johnny D.”. I will do everything I can. ”
Meanwhile, from Australia, where Johnny was shot in the fifth “Pirates”, there were reports that he was disappearing at parties and now and then he was late for the playground. The defense of Depp was the authors of his latest films. “He’s a professional. He always came on time, worked flawlessly, was polite to everyone, “says Kenneth Brana, director of the recent” Murder in the Orient Express. ”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Do not Tell a Fairy Tale” came out last spring and became a box office hit. The picture, which cost the studio Disney in two hundred and thirty million, at the time of delivery of this issue, the press earned almost eight hundred million. So whatever the outcome of the trial, the main gentleman of luck in Hollywood will not be left without updates.