Exclusive: Theater creator James Duffy’s tainted past - millions in unpaid bills, here, 26 states

Duffy or his companies have been sued at least 69 times; ordered to pay at least $24.6 million in judgments

Behind the Closing Curtains: A Naples Daily News investigation and special report

Interactive Map By MATT CLARK

The Daily News linked James Duffy and his companies to 88 different theaters located throughout the country. Fifty-eight of them either never opened or were open for less than three years. In the above interactive map, red markers represent the theaters that never opened, yellow markers represent theaters open for less than three years and green markers are theaters that were open for three years or more. Click on a marker to learn more about a theater and any court cases associated with it.

James Duffy at the Plaza Cinema Cafe in downtown Orlando in a photo taken for a magazine on June 29, 2009. Duffy and his brother, John, started their movie theater empire in Orlando in the mid-1970s. James Duffy's legal troubles in Orlando continue today. Nathan Dobbins/Special to the Daily News

James Duffy at the Plaza Cinema Cafe in downtown Orlando in a photo taken for a magazine on June 29, 2009. Duffy and his brother, John, started their movie theater empire in Orlando in the mid-1970s. James Duffy's legal troubles in Orlando continue today. Nathan Dobbins/Special to the Daily News

Employees of the shuttered Prado Cinema Cafe in Bonita Springs gather in protest over the wages of their former employer, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010. The employees said they didn't receive a final paycheck and that some of their paychecks had bounced even before the theater ended its seven week run. Matt Clark/Daily News

Employees of the shuttered Prado Cinema Cafe in Bonita Springs gather in protest over the wages of their former employer, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010. The employees said they didn't receive a final paycheck and that some of their paychecks had bounced even before the theater ended its seven week run. Matt Clark/Daily News

Court cases found: 69

Number of money judgments: 47

Judgment total: $24.6 million

Amount paid: $141,208.84

Total theaters found: 88

Number of theaters announced that never opened: 21

Number of theaters open less than 3 years: 37

Number of theaters open 3 years or more: 30

Number of states: 26

Number of theaters in Florida (most of any state): 17

Source: Daily News analysis of media reports, corporate filings, court cases, and interviews

BONITA SPRINGS _ The credits rolled for the last time, and the lights inside the Bonita Springs movie theater faded to black.

It wouldn’t take long for angry employees, all of a sudden out of work, to gather outside the theater to demand their final pay.

The Prado Cinema Café closed after only seven weeks in business and the employees said their paychecks bounced. They were told that dark October day it was just temporary, then given concession stand candy and sent on their way.

Closed temporarily? That didn’t make sense because they’d watched as the theater’s projectors were loaded onto trailers and hauled away.

“At the end of the day we just all got screwed,” Assistant Manager Joe Lopez said later.

The employees were mad at the man who signed their rubber paychecks, Jim Record. But inside the theater, Record said he was just the manager. The real owner was James Duffy, of Atlanta, and he was nowhere to be found.

“I’m in the middle of everything,” Record said. “I’m sure Mr. Duffy wanted it that way.”

It was Duffy who signed the theater’s lease, filed for its permits and incorporated its company, now the target of a Lee County civil court case alleging fraud and theft.

“Sounds to me like it was almost planned,” employee Ted Weed said.

Planned? There was a plot to this? That’s when the Daily News began investigating the man behind the closing curtains.

Turns out, the scene that day in Bonita Springs has played out dozens of times before, all across the country.

* * * * * * * * * *

Nobody knew.

The employees didn’t. Record didn’t. Nor did anyone else interviewed for this story know all of the dark past uncovered by a six-month Daily News investigation of Duffy’s enterprise.

Duffy or his companies have been sued at least 69 times and been ordered to pay at least $24.6 million in judgments since 1982 for refusing to pay all kinds of bills.

It didn’t start out that way, but Duffy’s once-successful cinema enterprise declined over decades into a trail of unpaid bills, failed theaters and civil fraud allegations. No evidence of him ever being charged with a crime was found.

The Daily News linked Duffy to 88 theaters in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, California, North Carolina and 21 other states through an analysis of media reports, court records, company filings and interviews. Fifty-eight theaters either never opened or were open less than three years.

Here’s some of what the Daily News investigation found:

In the latest trend, Duffy’s business convinced property owners to pay millions of dollars up-front for the construction or renovation of their theaters. That’s what happened in Bonita Springs, with $1.2 million paid up front.

His companies raked in the ticket and concession sales at those cinemas that did open, but didn’t pay the bills and abandoned theaters as lawsuits were filed.

Rent wasn’t paid, sometimes for months before landlords could evict. Contractors who should have been paid with the fronted renovation money didn’t get paid, nor did investors, lenders, film distributors, and even the lawyers who represented Duffy or his companies when they were sued.

The Daily News' search for James Duffy to try to get him to talk about his past led to this Atlanta condominium, where the building's concierge confirmed Duffy lived. In a Texas court case, James Duffy testified he had no income, no bank accounts with more than $16, no property worth more than $500 and owed back taxes to the IRS. Matt Clark/Staff

The Daily News' search for James Duffy to try to get him to talk about his past led to this Atlanta condominium, where the building's concierge confirmed Duffy lived. In a Texas court case, James Duffy testified he had no income, no bank accounts with more than $16, no property worth more than $500 and owed back taxes to the IRS. Matt Clark/Staff

Those who sued often just added to their losses because their attorneys spent months in futility, trying to serve lawsuits or collect judgments in a game of hide-and-seek with Duffy. Lawyers who got to the point of trying to find money or property of Duffy’s said their search for assets came up empty.

Of dozens of judgments, the Daily News found only three that were paid. Meanwhile, the search for Duffy to try to get him to talk about his past led to Atlanta and an upscale condominium, where the building’s concierge confirmed he lived.

* * * * * * * * * *

When it was time to get his start in business, James Duffy went to Disney World.

James Thomas Duffy, 64, went into business with his brother, John Joseph Duffy, 62, in Orlando in 1975. They opened Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, a combination bar, restaurant and movie theater franchise.

The Duffys, natives of the Columbus, Ohio-area, were doing marketing research for a large real estate company when they thought up Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse. They figured the theme park’s employees would enjoy it after work.

“He is a very charming man,” Alyce Stults remembers of James Duffy. “He could charm the pants off of anybody.”

Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse soon became a national franchise of theaters where people could go to have a beer or glass of wine with pub-style food to catch a new or recent release.

The Duffys sold their two Orlando-area Drafthouses as franchises to Ken and Alyce Stults in 1980. One of the original theaters, Aloma Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, still operates today, as do many other theaters James Duffy no longer is involved with.

“He is a very charming man,” Alyce Stults remembers of James Duffy. “He could charm the pants off of anybody.”

The brothers were driven to go public with their company and moved to Atlanta to start an aggressive expansion.

John Duffy, with his bright smile and swoop of brown hair, served as lead salesman while his handlebar-mustachioed brother served as company head.

In 1981, TIME magazine wrote that the brothers’ idea “may be a shot to stimulate the theater industry.” The franchises took off.

July 12, 1975 - Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse International is founded

Dec. 27, 1995 - Duffys found Cinema Grill Systems, move toward more family-friendly brand

Feb. 13, 2001 - Duffys form Entertainment Film Works, begin signing leases for theaters abandoned by big chains

Jan. 21, 2004 - Lease for first American Screen Works theater found by Daily News research, signed in Chandler, Ariz.

May 31, 2008 - First American Theatre Corp. project announced in Rockford, Ill., never opens

Behind the closing curtains: A timeline of James Duffy and his companies

Photo with no caption

And for the first 20 to 25 years, life was good. So was business. At least 20 theaters opened by the end of 1992, the Daily News’ analysis shows.

But the lawsuits began piling up behind the Duffys’ silver screens. The aggressive expansion, fueled in part by not paying bills, led to the rash of lawsuits.

By 2000, James Duffy or his companies faced 23 lawsuits. They had been ordered to pay more than $800,000 in judgments. That soared to more than $11.2 million in judgments by the end of 2003. Some of those early lawsuits are the ones that ended with judgments that were paid.

The Duffys’ business had faded from black, into the red.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was about that time when John Duffy got out of his brother’s enterprise, but he defends him to this day.

“I never saw anything that he did as wrong, to tell you the truth,” John Duffy said of his brother. “Everybody wants to point the finger elsewhere. But the point is -- you’re grown up. You’re a business person. Not everything succeeds.”

Minus his brother, James Duffy pressed on, pursuing fewer, but larger projects. Some came with taxpayer commitments. As recently as November, one of his companies was announced as a feature attraction for a taxpayer-backed development in Hartford, Conn., but was replaced by a different company in March.

Throughout its investigation, the Daily News made repeated attempts to contact James Duffy through his cell phone, via email and by visiting his home and office in Atlanta. On the Daily News’ second trip to Atlanta to talk to the Duffys, John Duffy answered the door to his home and answered questions. His brother wasn’t available to comment for this story, though.

Some of what’s known about James Duffy is that he’s never declared personal bankruptcy. A handful of civil lawsuits have alleged fraud by James Duffy or his companies, but only one led to such a finding and punitive damages.

“That’s life in general,” FBI expert James Wedick said. “There are a lot of civil frauds out there that aren’t charged.”

FBI expert James J. Wedick worked fraud cases during his 31-year bureau career. He wasn’t surprised by the Duffy story.

“That’s life in general,” Wedick said. “There are a lot of civil frauds out there that aren’t charged.”

* * * * * * * * * *

James Duffy does have members in his supporting cast.

“We settled our differences and I’ve got nothing bad to say about the guy,” Ross Weaver, of Clearwater Beach, Fla., said in January.

Of course, he was one of the few to get his money. Weaver’s judgment that got paid involved a loan that a Duffy company had defaulted on in 1990.

But not everyone wants to give James Duffy credit for what he did in those early years. Just ask Lawrence Steinberg, of Dallas, who sued in 1991. His legal battle lasted nearly seven years.

Steinberg invested in Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse by backing a $100,000 loan for the Duffys. In exchange, he received an ownership stake in the company. When the Duffys defaulted on the loan, Steinberg discovered his stock in the company was worth only $5,000.

In a Texas case, James Duffy testified he had no income, no bank accounts with more than $16, no property worth more than $500 and owed back taxes to the IRS.

An emotional James Duffy convinced the judge that the stock should have covered the loan, Steinberg said. Years of appeals later, Steinberg finally won an $183,756.56 judgment in 1998.

In the case, James Duffy testified he had no income, no bank accounts with more than $16, no property worth more than $500 and owed back taxes to the IRS.

To this day, Steinberg, a former attorney, hasn’t seen a dime.

“I do not think highly of him,” Steinberg said in February of James Duffy. “I feel I was taken advantage of by him.”

* * * * * * * * * *

As broke as James Duffy said he was, the man without the assets continued to expand his business during the 1990s.

He did it with his new, family-friendly brand, Cinema Grill. Sixteen more theaters opened between 1993 and 2000, the Daily News analysis shows.

Nearly all of the Drafthouses and Grills were franchises. Even though the Duffys didn’t operate them, it didn’t mean they were off the hook if they failed.

Their companies guaranteed the leases, giving landlords the impression that rent would be covered if the franchise owner couldn’t pay. It didn’t always work out that way, and four landlords obtained nearly $500,000 in judgments by April 2001.

Though some franchise owners told the Daily News they had no problems with the Duffys, at least two of them sued.

A Greenbelt, Md., couple alleged in 1999 that Cinema Grill insisted they use a contractor who took a $169,000 advance, then abandoned the project.

The couple lost their case, but the attorney that represented Cinema Grill later sued for not being paid, one of three lawsuits filed by unpaid lawyers as recently as 2002.

In several cases, including an ongoing one in Lee circuit court involving the Bonita Springs theater, James Duffy’s lawyers quit mid-lawsuit, sometimes stating they hadn’t been paid.

In other cases, James Duffy’s lawyers quit mid-lawsuit, sometimes stating they hadn’t been paid.

* * * * * * * * * *

Chaos came to the movie theater industry at the turn of the century.

A dozen of the largest theater chains went bankrupt. They were too bloated and began dumping dozens of the smaller theaters they had tried to keep open, even after building megaplexes with 15 or more screens.

Those megaplexes were tough competition for the little theaters and the Duffy franchises. Yet, where there’s chaos, some see opportunity. James Duffy saw it, even in theaters abandoned so quickly that popcorn was sometimes left in the poppers.

After years of getting away with not paying all types of bills, it didn’t seem to matter to him that the chains found the theaters unprofitable.

“The worse it is for them, the better it is for us,” he told a Buffalo, N.Y., newspaper in February 2001. “I see us adding seven to 10 theaters a month for the foreseeable future.”

The Duffys called their new venture Entertainment Film Works. They leased 19 theaters by September 2002, the Daily News analysis shows. None of them were open more than two years.

“I think Jim was really ahead of his time in many respects on some of the ideas and concepts,” his brother, John Duffy, said. “He’s very creative and a good business person."

Short-lived as it was, Entertainment Film Works was the height of the Duffy enterprise, with about 350 employees at one point, John Duffy said.

“I think Jim was really ahead of his time in many respects on some of the ideas and concepts,” John Duffy said. “He’s very creative and a good business person. I think sometimes just having proper management and proper counsel directing you would be helpful.”

Yet the first suit by a landlord for unpaid rent came in March 2002. The owner of Orlando’s Fashion Square Mall won a $1.9 million judgment.

Then came the sequels.

Several more judgments followed and, by November 2002, Entertainment Film Works had closed all but one theater in Austin, Texas.

William T. Parr, who worked as a projectionist at the Austin theater, said his paycheck bounced five times before the theater closed.

Parr said his manager paid the staff by skimming payroll from Entertainment Film Works’ ticket and concession sales.

James T. Duffy signed the lease for the Roxy Cinema Grill in Melbourne on Florida's east coast on Oct. 10, 2006. The theater opened April 1, 2007, for four months before the landlord sued for eviction and $153,134.68 in rent.
In defending the lawsuit, Duffy's South Beach Theater Co. alleged it suffered "substantial damages" when the landlord turned over the theater in disrepair. South Beach was evicted, but no money judgment was awarded. Matt Clark/Daily News

James T. Duffy signed the lease for the Roxy Cinema Grill in Melbourne on Florida's east coast on Oct. 10, 2006. The theater opened April 1, 2007, for four months before the landlord sued for eviction and $153,134.68 in rent. In defending the lawsuit, Duffy's South Beach Theater Co. alleged it suffered "substantial damages" when the landlord turned over the theater in disrepair. South Beach was evicted, but no money judgment was awarded. Matt Clark/Daily News

In Florida, Fred Tomeo, who worked as a manager when the company operated the Regency Square 8 in Stuart in 2002, convinced the landlord to quickly reopen the theater there so he could come up with money to pay staff.

“He’s a piece of dirt for doing what he did to the employees,” Tomeo said of James Duffy.

Tomeo still holds on to a paycheck he could never cash, but it wasn’t just loyal employees who said they got stiffed.

In all, at least 11 landlords, four contractors, a lender and big-name film distributors — Disney, Dreamworks and Universal movie studios — sued Entertainment Film Works, its subsidiaries or the Duffys, obtaining more than $11 million in judgments.

John Duffy questioned the fairness of some of the lawsuits.

One New York landlord obtained a $3.6 million judgment, the largest found in the Daily News’ research, mainly for future rent under a 10-year lease.

“It comes to a point where it’s like, ‘hey, how far are you going to squeeze the turnip?” John Duffy asked. “Where’s fairness there?”

* * * * * * * * * *

Good questions. Where’s the squeeze? What’s fair?

Some thought it was fair game to put the squeeze on and make it personal. Most of the lawsuits were filed against the Duffys’ companies, but a few sued the Duffys individually.

Steinberg was one of those. So was Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Maryland, in a case that ended with James Duffy’s wife, Norma Lee Duffy, and his brother declaring bankruptcy.

In 2001, Fidelity sued Entertainment Film Works, James Duffy, John Duffy, Norma Duffy and others for allegedly not paying a debt.

James Duffy and Entertainment Film Works were ordered to pay $222,000 in the Fidelity case. The Daily News research didn’t find proof that the judgment was paid, though a Fidelity spokeswoman said the case “may have involved a confidentiality agreement.”

The North Springs Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, one of the few Drafthouses the Duffys operated, opened in June 1991, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Less than seven months later, three construction supply companies sued for unpaid bills. Three judgments totaling $7,292.51 were ordered, one of which was paid off two years later. In late 1996, U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents raided the theater, seeking $48,490.95 in unpaid payroll and corporate income taxes and late fees. Matt Clark/Daily News

The North Springs Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, one of the few Drafthouses the Duffys operated, opened in June 1991, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Less than seven months later, three construction supply companies sued for unpaid bills. Three judgments totaling $7,292.51 were ordered, one of which was paid off two years later. In late 1996, U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents raided the theater, seeking $48,490.95 in unpaid payroll and corporate income taxes and late fees. Matt Clark/Daily News

By the time the case ended, James and Norma Duffy had abandoned their home, which was in her name and valued at $675,000, according to her bankruptcy file.

And there, the asset trail for the Duffys starts to go cold.

John Duffy said in late January that he got out of his brother’s business around 2004 and hadn’t heard from him in two years.

“I didn’t have control of anything,” he said. “There were people there that I obviously didn’t get along with, and we just parted ways.

“I think Jim went ahead to take it on to the next step,” he said.

The next step involved larger, non-franchised theaters, some of them built from the ground up.

Those larger projects would come with “build-out” money, millions of dollars fronted by landlords for the construction, renovation and equipping of theaters. The next step also involved allegations of fraud, something James Duffy’s younger brother said he knew nothing about.

* * * * * * * * * *

“Slug,” as James Duffy’s mother nicknamed him at birth, would soon ditch Entertainment Film Works. But he didn’t stop there. Duffy went on to create new companies – ones that could be judgment free, at least at first.

American Screen Works formed in 2003. It was followed in 2008 by American Theatre Corp., which oversaw the Bonita Springs theater that failed in seven weeks.

A sign on the door of James Duffy's office, the American Theatre Corp., in Atlanta. Duffy formed American Screen Works in 2003, followed in 2008 by American Theatre Corp., and oversaw the Bonita Springs theater that failed. The Bonita Springs case remains in civil court, with Wells Fargo suing Duffy's company and Duffy individually, alleging fraud. Matt Clark/Staff

A sign on the door of James Duffy's office, the American Theatre Corp., in Atlanta. Duffy formed American Screen Works in 2003, followed in 2008 by American Theatre Corp., and oversaw the Bonita Springs theater that failed. The Bonita Springs case remains in civil court, with Wells Fargo suing Duffy's company and Duffy individually, alleging fraud. Matt Clark/Staff

The Daily News analysis found at least 22 Duffy projects launched since January 2004, yet only eight actually opened, and of those, only two lasted more than a year.

Krystal Mayers worked at one of the failures. She was a cook in an American Screen Works theater during its less-than one-year run at the South Dekalb Mall outside Atlanta.

“I’m still waiting on my paycheck,” Mayers said.

So, again, Duffy employees complained they didn’t get paid.

Someone got paid serious money, though.

Back then, landlords, looking for tenants that could create a draw to their centers, started offering money up-front for build-outs and renovations.

The Daily News research into Duffy companies found nine court cases filed after 2003 describing build-outs. Calculating the amount of build-out money promised in the leases, then subtracting the amount the landlords testified they didn’t pay, the Daily News determined a maximum of $11 million could have been paid to Duffy companies for those theaters alone.

Of course, landlords don’t just pay a build-out in one fat check and let a tenant run away with it. Tenants are required to provide records showing contractors have been paid.

The Daily News research into Duffy companies found nine court cases filed after 2003 describing build-outs. Calculating the amount of build-out money promised in the leases, then subtracting the amount the landlords testified they didn’t pay, the Daily News determined a maximum of $11 million could have been paid to Duffy companies for those theaters alone.

Somehow, though, landlords started having liens filed against their properties by contractors who said they did the work for Duffy companies but didn’t get paid, and that comes back around to the lawsuit involving the Bonita Springs theater.

Wells Fargo Bank alleges there are liens filed against that property by contractors who should have been paid with a $1.2 million build-out listed in the lease signed by James Duffy.

Those are allegations in an ongoing case. But others like it against James Duffy companies resulted in judgments:

A Minneapolis landlord obtained a $2.3 million judgment after more than $108,000 in liens were filed against its property.

Universal Cinema Services, a theater equipment distributor, sued in 2004 after it wasn’t paid for more than $400,000 in equipment for Duffy theaters being built-out.

■ Forged records were at the heart of it when the landlord of a theater in Cordele, Ga., sued in 2006, accusing a James Duffy company of fraud to obtain build-out money. That landlord alleged James Duffy’s company submitted a forged document indicating a contractor had waived its lien and a forged invoice inflating the cost of movie theater chairs from $29,386 to $99,386, a 238 percent up-charge.

In defending the case, James Duffy claimed inflating the cost of chairs was an industry practice.

The landlord ultimately won a $2.6 million judgment that included $1.7 million in punitive damages for fraud. Atlanta attorney David Pardue, who’s handled several lawsuits against Duffy’s companies, won that case.

Pardue said his search for assets for James Duffy came up empty, but his client was able to sell equipment that had been installed in the theater.

That, he believes, should have sent a clear message to James Duffy.

“But we didn’t go so far as to lobby authorities for criminal investigations,” Pardue said.

Jim Record, who was managing director of the Cinema Cafe at the Prado shopping center, relaxes in the leather seats in the Bonita Springs theater that opened in 2010 and closed suddenly seven weeks later. Record refers to himself now as a James Duffy "throw-away." Lance Shearer/Daily News photo

Photo by LANCE SHEARER

Jim Record, who was managing director of the Cinema Cafe at the Prado shopping center, relaxes in the leather seats in the Bonita Springs theater that opened in 2010 and closed suddenly seven weeks later. Record refers to himself now as a James Duffy "throw-away." Lance Shearer/Daily News photo

James Duffy didn’t get the message. Instead, he found Bonita Springs and Jim Record.

* * * * * * * * * *

When Record decided to leave his job managing the theater at a mall in Estero to go to work at the Bonita Springs theater, it never occurred to him to run a background check on his new employer, James Duffy.

Record had been in the industry for decades and knew of Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, but nothing of the lawsuits or fraud allegations. Others interviewed for this story hadn’t heard of the lawsuits either, among them Ken Stults, the first franchisee in Orlando.

“I’ve known that guy for 30 years, but nobody says to me, he’s doing this or doing that,” Ken Stults said of Duffy.

Occasional media reports through the years have covered some of the lawsuits and failed theaters. Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore pointed to a few of those stories in 2009 and suggested James Duffy had a history of not paying rent.

Moore wrote about Plaza Cinema Cafe, a downtown Orlando theater involving a $6 million city loan. It had been stalled for four years before James Duffy got involved. It was open for six months, then closed in December 2009 under an eviction threat from the landlord.

Other projects came along, like the one last year in Hartford, Conn., backed by $10 million of the state’s money. One of James Duffy’s companies was announced as its anchor tenant.

But without public fanfare, Duffy’s company was replaced in March by Spotlight Theaters, which also had reopened the Cordele, Ga., theater involved in the 2006 forged records court case.

Employees of the closed Bonita Springs theater are giving up their fight to get paid.

“None of the attorneys that I’ve talked to want to have anything to do with the case,” said Lopez, the former assistant manager there.

Record said James Duffy offered to make him president of the Bonita Springs theater company after he was hired as a manager. He accepted the offer. That’s why his name was on the rubber paychecks.

It’s also one of the reasons he, like James Duffy, is embroiled as a defendant in Wells Fargo’s lawsuit over the build-out money for the Bonita theater.

Record said he was interested in reopening the Edison Park 8 on Winkler Avenue in Fort Myers even before he took the job with James Duffy. So, when the Bonita theater failed, he said he asked James Duffy if he could buy the equipment. He alleges he was told the lease allowed it.

Projectors and other equipment were moved into the Edison Park 8 and Record created his own company. Wells Fargo’s lawsuit now includes Record, his company, the Bonita Springs theater company, James Duffy and his American Theatre Corp.

Duffy is accused in the case of fraud in convincing the landlord to sign the lease, theft of the theater equipment, and that the only rent check received by the landlord bounced.

James Duffy’s American Theatre Corp. has asked a judge to throw out the Lee case. His lawyer in that case withdrew, in part because he hadn’t been paid.

Record is fighting the case, hoping to escape with his new theater, which yet today remains a darkened dream.

Standing in the Edison 8, with the projectors already installed, Record said he wishes he never became the manager and president of the Bonita Springs theater. He refers to himself as one of James Duffy’s “throw-aways.”

“That was probably one of the dumber things I’ve done in my life,” he said.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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