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Two Producers Cleared of Misusing Investor's Funds

June 13, 1986|WILLIAM K. KNOEDELSEDER Jr. and TED ROHRLICH | Times Staff Writers

Two Los Angeles-based theatrical producers, best known for their Broadway revivals of the musicals "Camelot" and "My Fair Lady," have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the way that they handled investors' funds for the two shows.

After a more than two-year investigation of producers Mike Merrick and Don Gregory, a spokesman for the Los Angeles district attorney's office announced Wednesday that "there is insufficient evidence to prove that a crime occurred."

It was on Oct. 5, 1983, that investigators from the district attorney's major frauds unit raided the Los Angeles offices of Merrick and Gregory and seized their financial records. Investigators were acting on information provided by "Camelot" and "My Fair Lady" investors, who claimed the producers had engaged in questionable accounting methods aimed at defrauding investors of profits due.

No charges were ever filed against Merrick and Gregory.

"It was a difficult thing to live with, but the cloud has finally been lifted," Merrick said in a telephone interview Thursday. "It took a long time, but, in all honesty, I'm gratified at the thoroughness and fairness on part of the district attorney's office."

Al Albergate of the district attorney's office said: "The basic allegations were that funds were transferred from one show to another without authorization (from investors), that money was missing, that there had been mismanagement, that there had been a breach of contract and kickbacks."

One of the primary complaints was that Merrick and Gregory had used some profits from "Camelot" to keep afloat their less successful and separately funded production of "My Fair Lady."

According to Albergate, "the (seized) records show a temporary bailout," but they also show that "eventually all the money was repaid with interest."

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