Los Angeles (Jan. 12, 2004) -- Actor William H. Macy is reportedly slated to star as a CPA who turned a chain of failing local strip clubs profitable in an upcoming movie for the cable network Showtime based on the true story of a retired Florida accountant.

Macy will portray CPA Lew Berman in the movie, tentatively titled “The Accountant and the Stripper,” according to an article in The Hollywood Reporter. The film is said to be directed by Steven Schachter and co-written by Schachter and Macy.

Berman, who co-founded the Melbourne, Fla., CPA firm Berman Hopkins Wright & LaHam, was placed in charge of the clubs as a receiver shortly after his retirement in 1996 by the judge who oversaw a $17 million legal battle between the clubs’ proprietor, Michael Peter, and Jacksonville-based insurance executive Mark Sanford, according to the article. Sanford alleged that Peter defaulted on a $17 million loan from his insurance company, while Peter claimed it was an investment that lost money.

According to the report, Berman turned the six clubs profitable for the state within a year. “He cleaned up all the graft and the corruption. He made the girls start paying taxes. He treated [the clubs] like a business,” The Hollywood Reporter quoted Macy as saying. “He empowered the girls. He instituted child care, employee picnics, employee benefits, and he treated the women that worked there as employees with all the dignity that they deserved, and they ended up loving him for it.”

The article noted that Macy and Schachter, who worked together on the Emmy-winning TNT movie “Door to Door,” have been trying to bring Berman’s story to the screen for several years.

-- WebCPA staff

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