Stunt coordinator wins a round in conservatorship battle

Former Hollywood stunt coordinator Nigel Hudson, who has long fought his former conservator, producer Lucas Foster, received a favorable court ruling in his ongoing dispute over the use of his conservatorship funds.

Probate judge Brenda Penny recently overturned Foster’s court-approved final bill — clearing a way to review the controversial conservatorship and pursue Hudson’s allegations that Foster embezzled funds.

Last year, Hudson filed a motion to overturn the order that approved the restorer’s final bill. Hudson alleges that Foster, his former conservator, took advantage of his position and stole money from the conservatorship by writing checks to himself and his various film companies as “reimbursement” for expenses he had not paid.

Hudson claims he only discovered the alleged fraud four years after the conservatory ended in 2014, well after a Los Angeles probate judge and court-appointed coroner signed Foster’s final statement.

“We will have a forensic accountant review the records to determine how much evidence needs to be presented to the judge and have Foster explain in more detail what he did with the money,” Hudson’s attorney Martin Horwitz said.

Horwitz believes the amount of money embezzled is “at least $500,000, probably more.”

Foster and his rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, in court documents, Foster said the lawsuit was brought “in bad faith” and that both Hudson and his barrister had signed the accounts. He claimed he “advanced hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase goods and services for Hudson’s benefit.”

Foster denied cheating on his former boyfriend and said Hudson knew he spent funds through his various companies and “approved this plan.”

In 2007, Hudson, who was training actors and rock stars and doing fight sequences for films like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, was pulled into a traffic stop on Sunset Boulevard.

The then 38-year-old British-born Hudson suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured neck and numerous other physical injuries that required multiple surgeries and medical treatments.

After years of litigation over the accident, he received a $13,863,000 settlement in 2011. More than half the money went to pay Hudson’s attorneys and his initial medical and other expenses. The rest left him with a substantial financial cushion for subsistence and future medical expenses.

The following year, Hudson agreed to appoint his longtime friend Lucas Foster as conservator general for his estate. The legal settlement gave Foster, a film producer with a long list of credits including the films Ford vs. Ferrari and Bad Boys, extensive control of Hudson’s finances.

However, when the conservatory ended in 2014, their financial entanglements continued, leading to a bitter rift and legal charges.

Between January 2016 and February 2017, Hudson said he loaned Foster $400,000, according to court documents, and was increasingly frustrated when Foster didn’t pay back the money.

When Hudson demanded repayment of the loan, he said he discovered that Foster had misrepresented the payment of one of his medical bills two years after his conservatorship ended. According to Hudson’s attorney Martin Horwitz, he learned of the discrepancy when his accountant, who was preparing 2013 tax returns, asked about his medical expenses.

One issue involved a $60,000 bill from UCLA, which Hudson believed Foster paid on his behalf. However, when he asked for proof of payment on his tax return, he found that without his knowledge, Foster had negotiated the bill down to $54,704.64 and kept the nearly $5,500 difference to himself, according to court documents.

On April 26, 2017, Hudson filed a civil complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against Foster and his various companies, including Warp Films, seeking repayment of the money borrowed and recovering the difference in the amount paid to UCLA.

Foster denied Hudson’s allegations.

After a November 2019 trial, the judge ruled in Hudson’s favor on three counts, including breach of contract and theft, but did not rule in his favor on two counts involving breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. The parties negotiated a settlement of $700,000 to be paid to Hudson.

Hudson claimed he discovered other discrepancies with bills he believed Foster paid on his behalf as conservator. When his attorney produced the conservatory’s bank documents, including check pictures, he compared the canceled checks to Foster’s entries in the payment schedule presented to the court and claimed that 28 checks totaling $558,169.47 listed as paid to third parties were paid out to Foster or one of his companies.

With the court ruling, Hudson now has the opportunity to request a full review.

“It’s been a long road from Nigel’s accident to now,” Horwitz said.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-07-27/hollywood-fight-coordinator-nigel-hudson-takes-a-win-in-controversial-conservatorship-battle Stunt coordinator wins a round in conservatorship battle

Sarah Ridley

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