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October 22, 2018

Company Profile

Muvico: Judgment Day

A chain of luxury movie theaters brings fame and fortune to its founder, a visionary immigrant. But the founder and his investors fall out.

Mike Vogel | 2/1/2007

Hashemi was put on leave from his $325,000-a-year job on Dec. 30, 2005, and sacked less than a month later for what the company calls "scurrilous and fraudulent behavior" -- false claims, he says in court pleadings. Hashemi's wife, diagnosed with cancer in August 2005, also got the boot. Hashemi filed three suits related to the struggle, and his wife filed one for wrongful termination.

Hashemi alleges improper conduct in assessing the competing bids and complains of malice and "a predisposition to replace him as president in a 'revolutionary' power struggle." Deane Hashemi's suit was settled on undisclosed terms. Hashemi's suits remained pending as of early January.

In an odd subplot, Joseph H. Shook, 36, a Muvico information technology director whose job was eliminated a month after Hashemi's dismissal, was subsequently indicted on a charge of sabotaging Muvico's computers for the May 2006 opening of Mission: Impossible III by preventing credit-card purchases at six theaters, costing the chain $100,000 in ticket sales. His case is pending. Bruce Udolf, Shook's lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, says Shook "categorically denies that he hacked into Muvico's computer system. The government's theory in this case is wrong and will be proven wrong at trial."

Meanwhile, back at the main plot, Muvico returned Hashemi's fire in court with a counterclaim alleging malfeasance by Hashemi. It says Hashemi, "in apparent violation" of campaign finance law, solicited employees for political donations to candidates and reimbursed them, himself and his family from company funds. He also used company assets as his own and was "materially dishonest" with the Muvico committee and managers, according to the claim. Hashemi and Muvico and its investors and managers, in court pleadings, deny the allegations of wrongdoing against them.

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