The war of words between Johnny Depp and his former business managers grew louder Wednesday as the managers labeled the actor “a habitual liar” in response to Depp asserting in an interview that they “clearly let me down.”
Depp s ued The Management Group, run by brothers Joel and Rob Mandel, in January for more than $25 million, charging fraud and negligence. The Management Group then countersued, saying Depp spent lavishly on homes, private jets, art and up to $30,000 a month in wine in spite of its warnings.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Depp questioned why he wasn’t dropped as a client by the managers over his spending. And he argued he could spend his money any way he wanted.
“Why didn’t they drop me as a client if I was so out of control?” Depp told the paper in his first public comments since filing his lawsuit. “I’ve worked very, very hard for a lot of years and trusted a lot of people, some who’ve clearly let me down.”
David Shane, a spokesman for The Management Group, issued a statement to USA TODAY in response, calling Depp a “habitual liar who denies responsibility for his own outrageous conduct and coerces others to lie for him.” The statement asserted Depp has no one but himself to blame for his financial woes.
“Johnny Depp and his sister were involved in every significant business decision during the 17 years TMG represented him,” the statement said. “Depp now admits to his extravagant spending but blames TMG for not dropping him as a client.”
In its countersuit, The Management Group alleged Depp’s lifestyle was costing more than $2 million a month to maintain. The lawsuit said Depp paid more than $75 million to buy and maintain 14 homes, including a French chateau and a chain of islands in the Bahamas.
The lawsuit also claimed Depp spent heavily to buy a 150-foot yacht, fly on private jets and cultivate collections of fine art and Hollywood memorabilia requiring 12 storage facilities to maintain.
Depp told the Journal: “It’s my money….If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it’s my thing.”
All of this comes after Depp’s lawyers filed new documents in his lawsuit on Tuesday, claiming they have “significant new information, including documents and testimony” from a former Management Group employee concerning “misconduct in managing Mr. Depp’s affairs.” The Management Group is seeking to keep the employee’s testimony sealed.
Shane’s statement said Depp “is relying on dishonest, discredited statements from a vindictive former TMG employee who was fired seven years ago — at which time the employee vowed to get TMG back.”
Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman of the Washington law firm the Endeavor Group, argues that TMG and the Mandels fear the unsealing of the employee’s testimony because it’s damaging to the ex-managers’ case.
Waldman told USA TODAY the ex-managers can’t plausibly argue that everyone in the case is “lying about (the ex-managers’) various frauds: Mr. Depp, a whistleblower who worked on Mr. Depp’s account for Mr. Mandel, a forensic accountant, and one of the country’s top tax lawyers.
“The unsealing of the whistleblower testimony, which describes various forms of thievery by Mandel and his firm of Mr. Depp’s assets, would soon end this discussion,” Waldman said.
Source: USA Today