Justice Sues Movie Producers, Ex-Navy Pilot
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ The federal government has sued a retired Navy pilot and the producers of the movie ″The Final Countdown″ for $1.3 million, seeking reimbursement for 167 hours of military flying time.
The U.S. Justice Department claims retired Navy Cmdr. Emory W. Brown Jr., then on active duty, was supposed to keep track of the number of hours Navy planes flew for the filming in 1979.
The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, seeks damages from Brown, alleging he reported 32.5 hours flown by members of his squadron for the film instead of 200 hours.
Brown was convicted in U.S. District Court two years ago for taking a $5,563 illegal gratuity during the filming, was fined $20,000 and put on three years’ probation and retired from the Navy.
The suit also seeks the costs and damages from producer Peter Vincent Douglas and three companies associated with the film, The Byrna Co., Morison Finance Ltd. and Aspen Productions.
The suit contends the film’s producers owe $691,105 for the additional flight hours, and it asks the court to also force Brown to reimburse the government for the $691,105, plus interest.
The science-fiction movie involved the USS Nimitz and used aircraft from Fighter Squadron 84, which Brown commanded.
The suit alleges Brown and Douglas agreed that the producers would be billed for a maximum of 30 hours of flying at $4,125 an hour.
Brown, reached at his Springfield, Va., home Thursday night, said he had not been served with a copy of the suit and declined comment on it. Brown retired from the Navy in March and is attending law school.
Douglas was on vacation and could not be reached to comment, according to his office at Universal Studios in California. Officials at The Byrna Co., Morison Finance Ltd. and Aspen Productions, all in Los Angeles, were also unavailable to comment.
The film, which starred Kirk Douglas, Katherine Ross and Martin Sheen, depicted a group of Americans sent back in time to the hours just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was released in theaters around the country.