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Rodney Dangerfield's Widow Headed To Trial In Fight With Ex-Biz Partners Who Allegedly Duped Her Out Of $3.9 Million

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Source: mega

Jun. 15 2023, Published 3:00 p.m. ET

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The widow of the legendary comic Rodney Dangerfield will finally get some respect from two “cut-throat men” that allegedly duped her out of a $3.9 million investment and other valuable contributions, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.

Joan Dangerfield is expected to face off with the two smooth-talking businessmen she sued in a Los Angeles Superior Court for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and contract in a deal involving plans to build entertainment venues with sophisticated technology.

The lawsuit, initially filed in 2018, accuses Steve Fox and Peter McMillan III, and his Willowbrook Capital Group, LLC of exploiting Dangerfield’s trust and “confidence by lying to her, concealing information they were required to disclose, and excluding her from key discussions through a series of back-room deals detrimental to Dangerfield’s position and investment,” court documents show.

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The alleged scheme was hatched in 2014 when Dangerfield invested $1.2 million in the start-up company Rockdome, billed as the future of live entertainment that would provide a 360-degree virtual theater experience using live acts complimented with hi-tech video technology.

“The Defendants’ scam involved making false promises, concealing critical business information, creating false documents, throttling Rockdome’s economic opportunities, and implementing a secret plan to bankrupt Rockdome and obtain its assets free of (Dangerfield's investment),” the documents alleged.

Despite big bucks promises, the deal turned sour in 2016 when Fox, the CEO, claimed to be having trouble raising capital inducing Dangerfield to pump more cash into the project to fund his “bloated salary and expenses.”

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“What Plaintiff did not know at the time was that McMillan and Fox were secretly planning for Rockdome to go through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, without Plaintiff’s consent,” the suit alleges. “In addition to withholding critical information from (Dangerfield), Defendants began to dismantle established strategic partnerships and alliances that (Dangerfield) had helped build for Rockdome, in order to purposely weaken Rockdome’s economic position.”

“After the foreclosure, Fox caused Rockdome Inc., to abandon the Rockdome name so that a new company formed by McMillan could steal the name and associated goodwill and continue the Rockdome plan to develop valuable entertainment venues using the assets that had originally secured Dangerfield’s investment,” the suit alleges.

What’s more, Dangerfield was never informed that Panasonic, Inc. had signed a letter of intent, supported by IBM, to invest $100 million.

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Gordon Yale, forensic accountant, and expert on Ponzi schemes, was hired by the comic’s widow to examine the long-running deal and concluded Fox and McMillan allegedly tried to hoodwink Dangerfield.

“In my opinion, Mr. McMillan’s conduct in delaying his investment in Rockdome and starving it of much needed capital, could be viewed as a strategy to gain control of Rockdome assets at a small price and to wipe out the ownership interests of Rockdome shareholders, including Ms. Dangerfield,” he concluded in his May 26, 2023, report.

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“Because some of this conduct involved apparently false statements and misrepresentations to Ms.Dangerfield to induce her to cede foreclosure rights, these apparent duplicities are indications of possible fraud by Mr. Fox and Mr. McMillan, Mr. Fox’s possible breach of fiduciary duty and Mr. McMillan's and the other defendants aiding and abetting the breach.”

Dangerfield’s husband, who starred in beloved classic comedies such as Caddyshack and Back to School died in 2004 after suffering a stroke at age 82, according to ABCNews.com.

The trial is set to start next month.

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