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Coppola Ordered to Pay $4.8 Million on '81 Debt

February 09, 1990|MICHAEL CIEPLY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, already in bankruptcy proceedings, was ordered Wednesday by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to pay $4.8 million in interest on a long-disputed debt owed to Canadian financier Jack Singer.

The court had earlier ordered Coppola to repay the original amount of the $3-million loan, which Singer had made to the filmmaker in 1981 to help finance a movie.

Robert Chapman, an attorney for Singer, said he expects to ask the court for attorney's fees and litigation costs that could boost the total judgment to more than $8.1 million.

A spokesman for Coppola declined to comment on the ruling, and an attorney for the filmmaker didn't return calls.

Coppola and one of his privately owned companies, Zoetrope Productions, last month filed in Santa Rosa, Calif., for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. According to Chapman, the bankruptcy judge subsequently issued an order permitting the Los Angeles judge to proceed with the Singer case, which was filed in 1985.

Singer, a Calgary-based real estate developer, had loaned Coppola $3 million to help finance "One From the Heart," a costly flop that Coppola directed while operating Hollywood General Studios in Los Angeles.

Hollywood General filed for bankruptcy in 1983, and Singer later bought the property, which he currently operates as Hollywood Center Studio.

Coppola is in Italy, filming "Godfather III" for Paramount Communications.

Chapman said he expected the bankruptcy court to rule next month on whether Coppola, who has lost past appeals in the Los Angeles case, to pursue any further appeals.

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