The financial nightmare that has Hollywood star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, his ex-wife and their friend and accountant between, ahem!, a rock and a hard place is much more serious than previously thought, Gossip Extra has learned.
According to court records, six elderly, unsophisticated investors have sued companies controlled by Johnson’s ex-wife Dany Garcia, a prominent socialite who’s the president of the University of Miami Alumni Association, and well-known accountant Emery Sheer.
The plaintiffs claim they were enticed by Sheer to pour millions into Garcia’s investment company, JDM Partners, and White Buffalo Entertainment, a movie production company fronted by The Rock.
Now the cash has vanished, and the investors have received little or no return.
Johnson’s name is not on White Buffalo’s incorporation paperwork but the actor, who’s currently filming Pain & Gain with Mark Wahlberg in Miami, has been described in published reports as a “partner” and was actively involved in the production of several movies.
The Rock’s publicist hasn’t commented on the mushrooming scandal.
The investors, meanwhile, filed three separate lawsuits asking to get back a total $5 million, according to Miami-Dade County records.
And as many as a half a dozen other locals who poured money into Garcia’s schemes, including some of her employees, have contacted lawyers about the loss of another $3 million. None has filed a legal action.
What’s more, SunTrust bank recently obtained a $829,000-judgment against White Buffalo for non payment of a $1 million-business loan.
Gossip Extra revealed Saturday how Garcia and Sheer were sued by elderly Miami resident Mirta Mendez, who invested $1.8 million — money paid to her by the Cuban government after it ordered her son’s plane shot down in 1996.
Garcia’s lawyer, Richard Barbara, said at the time the money was lost because Garcia made bad real estate loans, and he denied allegations of fraud. Barbara hasn’t returned calls about the other cases, which he is also handling.
“I’m not sure this is organized fraud,” said attorney David Glassberg, who represents Miami resident Janet Stoker in yet another claim. ”But they’re clearly taking advantage of people.”
Stoker says the $400,000 that Garcia and Sheer invested for her, including $200,000 into White Buffalo, are lost.
School teacher Eileen Agurcia is another plaintiff.
Agurcia entrusted Garcia with $750,000 from the estate of her mother in 2006. And, according to court documents, Agurcia watched Garcia put $500,000 in a condo reconversion project downtown Miami, $150,000 into White Buffalo and another $100,000 in a Miami doll company, Baby Abuelita.
Agurcia’s now suing to get her money back, alleging fraud.
Siblings Elizabeth Bryan, 77, and James Gaunt, 78, meanwhile, recently settled their $2 million-lawsuit against JDM and White Buffalo. Their attorney, David Milian, said he couldn’t comment on the settlement.
But his civil court complaint was as scathing as they come.
“Dany Garcia was the consummate swindler who, through charisma, charm and effective references to her affiliation with Hollywood’s elite, intimate meetings with the plaintiffs at their homes, and lunches in which she escorted the plaintiffs in her Bentley automobile, sought to gain the plaintiffs’ trust,” Milian’s filing reads.
White Buffalo, by the way, lost million on its eight movie ventures. Its only critical success, the documentary Racing Dreams, made $63,000 at the box office. Another movie, Lovely, Still with Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, made $5,000 on its opening weekend. It cost $5 million to make, according the movie industry website imdb.com.