YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


SEC Questions Tamarak Claims, Halts Trading of Firm's Shares

Among the issues raised is whether the television production company can carry out planned projects as it has said.

August 26, 2003|Walter Hamilton | Times Staff Writer

The Securities and Exchange Commission halted trading Monday in shares of Tamarak Inc., a Van Nuys-based television production company, after questioning the accuracy of the company's financial projections and plans for a TV miniseries.

The halt in the shares, which are listed on the OTC Bulletin Board, would continue through Sept. 8, the SEC said.

The agency said there were questions about Tamarak's financial ability to produce and distribute a miniseries and movie -- plans the company has trumpeted in recent news releases, helping to drive its stock sharply higher.

The company put out releases this month saying it would make a four-hour miniseries about the life of pilot Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to break the sound barrier.

Tamarak stock surged from $1.15 at the end of July to as high as $2.25 last week. It closed Friday at $2 and did not open for trading Monday.

The SEC said it had questions about the "purported support" of the Air Force for the company's film projects and Tamarak's "purported discussions" with major TV and film studios.

The agency advised current and prospective shareholders to "carefully consider" the issues being raised.

A.J. Leydton, Tamarak's chief executive, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

In an Aug. 18 release, Tamarak said the Air Force had pledged its "fullest support" for the Cochran project. The company also promised to reach agreement with a large cosmetics firm on a line of beauty products bearing Cochran's name.

Tamarak said it expected to make a $4.5-million profit from the miniseries, an additional $25 million from reruns over three years and $13.5 million from a two-hour Cochran movie to be distributed overseas.

The company has said other projects it was working on include "Deadly Innocence," described as a drama of murder, passion and betrayal "just beneath the surface of the multibillion-dollar toxic waste disposal industry."

According to an SEC filing in June 2002, Leydton, 69, has a law degree and formed Tamarak Films in 1981. In the late 1970s, he made a film called "The Last Word" whose cast included Martin Landau and Karen Black.

Tamarak Inc. was incorporated in Nevada in 2000 and subsequently sold stock to investors under that state's laws. The shares began trading last fall on the OTC Bulletin Board.

Los Angeles Times Articles