Producers of 1990s TV sitcom "Sister, Sister" have filed a $5 million lawsuit against Los Angeles accounting firm Sills & Gentille and parent firm Green Hasson & Janks, alleging professional negligence, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by Fred Shafferman, Depasse Jones Entertainment, Swany Inc. and Giggling Goose Prods., the firm, then called Sills & Adelman, released a delayed and incomplete audit report of the show’s accounting statements seven years after it was hired in 2001, and long after the show about identical twins, aired on ABC from 1994-95 and the WB 1995-99, was off the air.
Early in that professional relationship, Gary Gilbert, one of the creators of the Tia and Tamera Mowry vehicle, reported having his two profit calculations as writer and executive producer reduced. Around the same time, firm partner Michelle Gentille allegedly told producers the audit would likely reveal between 10 to 20 percent in underreported income.
Gilbert then followed up with Gentille and Paramount Domestic Television, which syndicated the show, along with CBS Television Distributors, from 1998 forward. For the next six years, according to the complaint, the plaintiffs then regularly called to inquire about the audit’s status, and were allegedly told progress was being made and the audit would uncover underreported income from “studio bookkeeping” and “creative billing.”
In 2007, the plaintiffs say, they were told the audit report was delayed because of a “medical situation,” and then, the next year, that it was 85 percent done.
When, in 2009, the report was finished, the accounting firm allegedly told the plaintiffs that “they hadn’t found much,” and that Gentille was willing to waive the portion of her fee that was due.
Gilbert then followed up on his reduced share with a CBS executive, who offered to reimburse Gilbert. In the summer of 2012, Gilbert received a “settlement” offer from Paramount in which he could receive a nearly $175,000 check for underpayment, but only if he signed away his right to another audit, which he did.
The complaint says the copy of that final audit report had four open items and no mention of these alleged improper calculations from Paramount.
When passed to an accountant at firm Rintala, Frasier and Jaenicke, the report was found to be incomplete, and another auditor at Junico Services allegedly called the report the least complete of the hundreds of audits she’s seen.
Gentille told the Hollywood Reporter that her firm had no comment about the lawsuit.
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