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Company Town : Kim Basinger Seeks Further Bankruptcy Protection : Creditors Say Actress Is Trying to 'Insulate' Recent Earnings

December 28, 1993|ROBERT W. WELKOS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actress Kim Basinger, claiming that her creditors are demanding a say over what movies she makes and even whether she has a baby in order to force payment of a staggering $8-million jury verdict in the "Boxing Helena" case, has decided to seek further bankruptcy protection, her attorneys said Monday.

Basinger, who has appeared in such films as "Batman" and "9 1/2 Weeks," will convert a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing she made earlier this year into a Chapter 7 filing, attorney Leslie Cohen said.

Under Chapter 7, Basinger's estate will be subject to liquidation by a trustee and distribution to her creditors in accordance with the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 applies to business reorganizations.

Basinger's plan did not go down well with Main Line Productions, which produced "Boxing Helena" and won the huge jury award. Attorneys for the company said Monday that they believe Basinger changed from Chapter 11 to 7 so she could keep all her movie earnings made since she filed for bankruptcy.

"If she were to sign up tomorrow to make a movie in the Chapter 11 arena, the court would have required her to devote a substantial amount, if not all, to payment of creditors," said Sally Neely, an attorney for Main Line. "She hopes by filing for Chapter 7 to insulate that money for herself and keep it from her creditors."

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in March awarded the $8 million to Main Line, an independent production company, ruling that Basinger reneged on an oral commitment to appear in "Boxing Helena." When Basinger abruptly withdrew from the film in 1991, the producers had to scramble to find another actress.

Basinger's bankruptcy attorney took a verbal swipe at Main Line on Monday, claiming that none of the three reorganization plans put forward by the actress has been deemed good enough for the producers. Cohen contended that Main Line wants a third party to "second-guess" Basinger's career decisions or influence her plans to start a family with her new husband, actor Alec Baldwin.

"At one point, Main Line argued that the plan should be denied because Kim could get pregnant," Cohen said. "Although we question whether she would have been treated this way if she were a man, we offered to lengthen the plan to take into consideration any time taken off for medical leave."

But Main Line's attorneys said they never argued that Basinger should not have a family. They said the Bankruptcy Court indicated that if the actress decided to take the next three years off work to have children, it would be relevant for creditors to know.

Basinger's assets are estimated at between $2 million and $3 million, Cohen said.

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