Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. Image via Walt Disney Studios

Has Johnny Depp squandered his movie-star millions with excessive spending and “financial waste?”

That was the question in court Monday as Depp battled his former business managers, blaming them in a lawsuit for raking in millions in fees to which he never agreed.

But the business managers denied Depp’s claims, saying in a countersuit they warned the Pirates of the Caribbean star that he was overspending, but they couldn’t stop his wasteful ways.

In a decision in which both sides declared victory, the judge in the case ruled Monday that lawyers for Depp’s former business managers will have to shore up their countersuit alleging that excessive spending by the actor contributed to the financial difficulties that he blames on the company.

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Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet had said in a tentative ruling that she was leaning toward tossing out The Management Group’s request for a finding that the actor authorized the company to make payments on his behalf and that he caused his own “financial waste.” However, after hearing arguments from TMG’s lawyers, she decided to give them 10 days to file an amended complaint stating further grounds in support of the claim.

The judge adopted her tentative ruling that TMG can move forward with its fraud allegation against Depp.

“The gravamen of the (TMG countersuit) is that Depp in fact squandered his own money by virtue of his overly extravagant lifestyle that he could not maintain, despite TMG’s continued efforts to warn of an protect him against financial ruin,” the judge wrote.

TMG alleges that it loaned Depp $5 million to help him avoid a financial crisis, $4.2 million of which is still due, Beaudet wrote.

Lawyer Michael Kump, on behalf of TMG, said it was a good day for his client because the fraud claim remains in the suit. He said the other claim can be easily revised.

However, Benjamin Chew, one of Depp’s attorneys, said he, too, was pleased with the decision. TMG’s lawyers were essentially forced to amend a “meritless claim on the fly,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

Depp, 54, sued The Management Group on Jan. 13, alleging the firm collected $28 million in contingent fees he never agreed to. The actor also alleges TMG consistently failed to file or pay his taxes on time, failed to keep proper books and loaned nearly $10 million of his money to third parties without authorization.

The company denied any wrongdoing and maintained everything was done to handle Depp’s finances responsibly while advising him that he was overspending.

TMG filed its countersuit Jan. 31 and its breach-of-contract claims against Depp were not challenged in the dismissal motion.

— City News Service

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