Segal Puts Accountants Under Siege

Attorneys on both sides of a legal standoff between "Under Siege" star Steven Seagal and former accountants he is suing over a billing dispute said today they want an independent review of their many years of business transactions.

During a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, lawyers for Seagal and the defendants, Harabedian Hall & Co., said they agree that retired Judge Arnold Gold is best suited to peruse through the paperwork, which dates back 23 years.

In the wake of today's developments, Judge Mel Red Recana -- who is presiding over the case in general -- said he will wait until July 27 to set a trial date to see what progress is made in getting Gold's input as well as the possible help of a mediator in settling the case.

After today's hearing, Harabedian attorney Kevin S. Lacey said Gold will have a challenging task since just the past seven to eight years of documents would fill more than 200 boxes.

"It's an accounting nightmare to go through all these things," Lacey said.

Seagal filed the case on behalf of himself and his companies, including Steamroller Productions and Steven Seagal Enterprises, against accountant Robert Harabedian and his Los Angeles-based company last Oct. 10. His allegations include fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Seagal and Steamroller signed an agreement with Harabedian in the late 1980s for management and accounting services, according to actor's court papers.

Seagal maintains he was overbilled for services -- his court papers state he was charged $4.2 million from 2000-06 -- and that he paid for work the company did not perform. He also alleges he was given unsound financial advice and that some of his money was diverted to the firm.

The suit maintains the actor did not learn of the alleged wrongdoing until he obtained other "professional assistance."

The 57-year-old Buena Park High School alumnus was not present in court today.

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