George Christie, the out bad former president of the Ventura charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, is now threatening to sue Nick Mead, the British documentarian who spent more than two years and something more than $100,000 making a documentary about Christie before deciding not to release it.
In an email to Mead yesterday, Christie’s daughter and sometimes attorney Moriya Lynn Christie wrote: “Your recent unilateral determination that The Last American Outlaw documentary would not be distributed has required the parties to examine situation with an eye towards the parties’ respective legal obligations. You are one of the joint venturers in the Last American Outlaw Joint Venture with Nikki Nicoletto-Christie pursuant to a written agreement written by the Venture’s attorney, James Devine.”
“It seems that the appropriate remedy is for you to sign over your rights in the Venture and in the Documentary to Nikki. The transaction can be structured whereby Nikki and the Venture indemnify you from any claims that arise from the distribution of the Documentary with an errors and omissions insurance policy secured in order to address any such claims. Otherwise, you are likely looking at a lawsuit for damages and specific performance wherein you are going to incur over $100,000 in legal fees whereas my relationship with Nikki will substantially reduce the attorneys’ fees she will be required to spend, if any at all.
“You simply cannot take your ball and go home.”
Mead thinks he can.
The Last American Outlaw began as a tribute to Easyrider in which George Christie would tour America on his motorcycle and have conversations with interesting people. According to Mead, the film got off to a rough start when Christie insisted on trailering his motorcycle from Ventura to Joshua Tree, California, a distance of about 200 miles.
“We spent the first morning tracking down a trailer for his bike,” Mead said. “We eventually got it from U-Haul, with an absurdly narrow metal thing that meant getting the bike on and off was nearly impossible. Out of a five or six day journey to Arizona we ended up filming the bike sequence for a total of about 45 minutes. The rest of the time the bike was in the trailer.”
When Christie was indicted for conspiring to firebomb two tattoo shops named “Scratch the Surface” and “Twisted Ink” that competed with his own tattoo shop in Ventura, Mead believed that Christie was innocent and decided to shift the focus of the documentary to what he then thought was Christie’s persecution by the government.
Mead began to have doubts about Christie’s actual innocence after the film was mostly completed. The film was first shown at a place called the Bells Arts Factory in Ventura. Christie, who has an autistic son, told Mead the proceeds from the screening would benefit autism research. Mead thinks Christie simply pocketed the money.
Mead then began to have doubts about Christie’s actual innocence in his federal racketeering case and the circumstances that led to Christie’s expulsion from his long time motorcycle club. Throughout the production, Christie maintained that he had “retired” from the Hells Angels. Actually, he was voted out in bad standing from the club in 2011. Audio recordings obtained by The Aging Rebel strongly suggest that Christie was expelled because he avoided jail time for motorcycle theft and drug charges by informing on another Hells Angel.
The length of time between Christie’s plea deal in his latest court case and his sentencing, and the brevity of his sentence suggest that Christie debriefed with the FBI. After beginning to suspect that Christie was less innocent than he appeared Mead asked to see Christie’s plea and sentencing agreement. When Christie refused, Mead no longer wanted to be associated with the film.
“It was meant to be a noble story about this legendary figure,” Mead said. “And slowly the bubble burst. George wasn’t exactly the legendary figure he claimed to be.”
In her demand letter to Mead yesterday, Moriya Christie wrote: “I understand that you question some of the statements made by George Christie in the Documentary regarding the manner in which he left the Hells Angels, the circumstances of his plea agreement with the United States, and whether or not money from the public screening of the Documentary at Bell Arts Factory was donated to an organization that researches autism. I also understand that you have had additional conversations with Hells Angels members about George and the Documentary. It is presumed that you stated to Aging Rebel that the Documentary would not be distributed because of the foregoing. You are not relieved of these fiduciary duties simply because you are not happy with the content of the Documentary or now question George’s veracity.”
Since Christie is threatening to sue Mead rather than the other way around it is unclear exactly what Mead’s “fiduciary duties” to Christie actually are. According to Mead, “George never put any money into the film. That a filmmaker who makes documentaries discovers he has been misled by his subject and is then legally forced to release a film that he knows is a lie? Is that nutty or what?”
The Aging Rebel has been told by informed sources who are not Nick Mead that George Christie is involved in ongoing negotiations to appear in a six part reality television series about his life to be produced by a New York production company named Eastern TV. Christie was in New York last week. The series would be cablecast on The History Channel.
In a casting notice last year for the as yet untitled show, Eastern wrote:
“Are you a man with miles of hard road behind you, ready to ride toward a bold new horizon? Read on…
“We’re looking for a family man who has spent years in loyal service to his motorcycle club and wants to kick start a new life starring in a brave new series commissioned by a major cable network. If you’re an outlaw with a heart of gold your greatest adventure might be about to begin…by sending us an email.”
“You need to be hard and uncompromising, with a personality big enough to fill the screen. Your family is as important as you are. If you’ve got a little girl you can’t say ‘no’ to and a wife who knows exactly how to tell you ‘no,’ we’re off to a great start. You need to be ready to put the outlaw years behind you and make a new start at something totally different. It’s great if you know what you want to do next, but if not, having the desire is enough: we can help with the rest.”
Mead believes George Christie wants to use footage from the documentary in the History Channel show. In a short response to yesterday’s demand letter, Mead wrote, “I have no faith in this film at all. I presume you are still trying to connect this film to either the History Channel or Eastern TV and that is probably the real reason for this letter. I will suck this up financially. It has been a terrible, awful waste of my time and efforts and financially it is crippling. But life goes on. I will not support a lie.”
This morning Mead said, “I just don’t want my work to go into some god awful reality series. I thought I was making a noble film about a noble man. I thought it was something important. Now it all seems a little self serving with no grounding in reality. They’re trying to bully me into giving up the film. The whole thing is very grubby.”