A former business manager for Nicolas Cage has filed a cross complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming the actor was already deeply in debt when he was hired by the star in 2001.
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, last month Cage filed suit against Samuel J. Levin, whom he claimed in court papers was an "incompetent business manager," and whom he said sent the star, "down a path toward financial ruin."
But in his cross complaint, filed late last week, Levin claims that when he was hired by Cage in 2001, the actor had already, "squandered tens of millions of dollars he had earned as a movie star, he was deeply in debt, and he owed millions of dollars in accrued but unpaid income taxes, with no funds available to pay the debut."
Levin claims in his court filing that from the start of the two men's "Business Management Agreement," Cage "knew about his perilous financial situation and he knew he was behind on paying his taxes."
The business manager claims he "warned" Cage that in order to "maintain his lavish lifestyle," he needed to earn $30,000,000 a year.
In fact, Levin said the two came up with an agreement at the start of their business relationship.
Among the "objectives" Levin claimed the men agreed to were:
· Reduce Cage's spending and use his "assets and earnings to pay off his debts and eliminate the tax arrearage."
· Accumulate a "cushion" of at least $10,000,000, but preferably $20,000,000, for Cage's financial security purposes and to "alleviate the financial pressure to take film roles that might be detrimental to his career."
Levin said after agreeing, he sold off the actor's $1.6 million comic book collection and more than "a dozen of his automobiles."
But the business manager claims that after Cage had "a string of hit films," his increased earnings saw the actor abandon "the economic conservatism" he had agreed to.
Levin claims Cage went bought new cars to replace the ones he sold and "set off on a spending binge of epic proportions."
By July 2008, Levin claims, Cage owned:
· 15 palatial homes around the world
· 4 yachts (one for the following locations: Caribbean, Mediterranean, Newport Beach and Rhode Island)
· 1 island in the Bahamas
· 1 Gulfstream jet
· Millions in jewelry and art
Levin claims he "implored" the actor to stop buying property and spending, but he "rejected this advice and continued his compulsive spending.
Levin claims the actor then bought more including
· 3 more homes worth more than $33,000,000
· 22 automobiles (including 9 Rolls Royces)
· 12 expensive jewelry pieces
· 47 artwork and exotic item purchases.
Levin claims as time went on, his advice was ignored and "rebuked."
"The pinnacle of [Cage's] spending spree came with his quixotic acquisition of Midford Castle in England and Schloss Neidstein Castle in Bavaria," Levin claims in the cross complaint.
The business manager claims he was eventually "terminated" and the actor hired a Certified Public Accountant to take over the account, an account which brought Levin back on board on an "hourly basis" until October 13, 2009, when Levin filed the actor's 2008 tax returns. A short while later, Cage filed the original suit against Levin.
Just last week, Cage lost two of his New Orleans homes due to foreclosure auction and the IRS has claimed the actor currently owes over $6 million back taxes.
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Cage claims he is having to divest himself of a host of assets because of "Levin's incompetence, misrepresentations and recklessness."
He further asserted in his lawsuit that Levin paid himself "millions of dollars" while putting Cage's money into "risky" and "highly speculative" investments, and that he also allegedly failed to "timely pay taxes."
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