Fawcett estate sues producer over alleged misdeeds

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[January 23, 2010]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Farrah Fawcett's estate sued a producer Friday who collaborated with the actress, claiming he botched a documentary project and misused her company's money.

The lawsuit claims Craig J. Nevius exploited Fawcett and improperly revealed privileged information about the actress to the media, including that her cancer had returned. The suit also claims Nevius turned in an unworkable first cut of a documentary on Fawcett's fight with cancer and he may have embezzled money from the actress' company, Sweetened By Risk.

The lawsuit states NBC, which aired the television special "Farrah's Story," had to rework the footage with help from Fawcett's longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal. The edits were being made until shortly before the special aired, the lawsuit states.

"These allegations lack merit and are a pathetic attempt to try to intimidate and further injure Mr. Nevius," said attorney Miles J. Feldman.

Nevius sued O'Neal and Fawcett's friend Alana Stewart over "Farrah's Story" last year. The case is still pending.

That case, filed the day the special was aired for Fawcett's friends and reporters, claims O'Neal, Stewart and Fawcett's business manager Richard B. Francis, interfered with Nevius' role in "Farrah's Story."

Friday's lawsuit was filed by Francis, who is a trustee of Fawcett's estate, and Sweetened By Risk LLC.

The lawsuit states Nevius knew Fawcett for about five years before her June 25 death. He worked on a reality TV series featuring the actress called "Chasing Farrah" and was producing the documentary that eventually aired on NBC. The lawsuit claims Fawcett cut ties to him in early 2009 and he became jealous of O'Neal and Stewart.

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The lawsuit filed Friday contends Nevius turned in a first cut of "Farrah's Story" that was deemed "wholly unacceptable" by the actress. She then turned creative control of the film over to O'Neal, the suit states.

The complaint states Francis believes Nevius "embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars" from Fawcett's company. It states Nevius has refused to allow Sweetened by Risk's financial records.

Fawcett's "Charlie's Angels" co-star, Kate Jackson, said Friday evening she was shocked at the lawsuit's allegations against Nevius. Jackson had been critical of the producer in the past, but said Friday those comments were misguided.

She said it was her understanding that Fawcett had creative control of the early version of the documentary on her cancer fight.

"He had an unflagging devotion to Farrah in every way and he worked with her to help her achieve her vision, not his vision and not anybody else's vision," Jackson said in a telephone interview.

[Associated Press; By ANTHONY McCARTNEY]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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