Who's Suing Whom: No table-dancing for Mayfair

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The Independent Online
THE RESCUE of the Berkeley Playhouse Club, a table-dancing venue in London's Mayfair which went bust last November, has come unstuck. The administrator of the club has launched legal action against the proposed buyer of the collapsed company.

The club was launched in swish Berkeley Square two years ago. It floated on Ofex in March 1997 at 110p, rose to 125p but then fell to 62.5p before dropping out of the market.

The club's wealthy investors were unable to stop it from going into administration last autumn, and company rescue specialist Nick Miller of Kingston Smith & Partners has been seeking a buyer ever since.

The club owed pounds 10m when it went down, around a quarter of that to private investors. A building firm, Faith Dean, was owed pounds 2m after the cost of refurbishing the building rose to pounds 4.5 m. Another pounds 1.1m is outstanding to other creditors after a downstairs restaurant failed to catch on.

Jilly Johnson, the former Page Three model, organised the club's team of scantily-clad table dancers. Club members included property tycoon Peter Beckwith, father of "It" girl Tamara Beckwith.

Mr Miller told investors they were unlikely to see much of their money back. Then at the turn of the year he started negotiating with a little- known business called Mayfair Centrefold, a company which he described as having "Middle Eastern connections".

Now the sale is in disarray, and Mr Miller is suing Mayfair Centrefold for repossession of the club's premises at 15 Berkeley Square, as well as another building at 35 Dover Street, also in the West End.

TWO INDEPENDENT film and video companies have fallen out over a two- year-old deal to distribute works by artists ranging from Pavarotti to the Sex Pistols, and on subjects as various as The Titanic to the Battle of Arnhem.

Castle Music, which was bought last year by Rutland Trust, the corporate finance and investment group, is suing Eagle Rock Entertainment over a written agreement dated 1 April 1997 under which Eagle Rock agreed to act as Castle's exclusive worldwide agent for a period of seven years.

Eagle was to procure deals with third parties to distribute, license and exploit the large number of films and other audio visual media owned or controlled by Castle.

Castle is now claiming that Eagle Rock signed a lot of deals with third parties without referring back to Castle first as agreed under their contract.

For instance, Castle is complaining that Eagle Rock allowed a third party to release a digital versatile disc (DVD) titled Pavarotti - The Event, which replaced Castle's logo with that of Eagle Rock - "so as to misleadingly give the impression that the defendant, not the plaintiff, was the owner," says Castle.

Castle also alleges that Eagle Rock failed to submit all the artwork to various films it distributed on behalf of the former, including Russia in Space part one, Hitler Youth, and Focke-Wulfe 190.

Castle is applying to the court for a declaration that the whole deal has been validly terminated.

Castle's writ is in reply to a previous writ launched by Eagle against Castle at the end of last month, in a separate wrangle over the copyright to an album by The Stray Cats titled Choo Choo Hot Fish.