EXCLUSIVE: The management/production company Cavalry Media seems to go around the drain. We learn that the company co-founded by Keegan Rosenberger and the recently released Dana Brunetti is in financial chaos. How hopeless is that? The company’s 14 employees have not been paid for months and have been without benefits for so long.
Some employees owe up to $50,000 to half a million in back wages and commissions. While staffers have been promised by Rosenberger and Cavalry CFO Reid Rogers that more money is on the way in pending deals, they are tired of hearing excuses. They think the Cavalry isn’t coming and the company has exhausted the majority of its $14 million seed funding. Lawsuits for back pay are mobilizing, according to Deadline.
Cavalry’s Rosenberger defends that he’s making a big acquisition in the audio space and more money is on the way to right the ship here.
“The company is not in a state of financial distress,” Rosenberger told Deadline this afternoon.
“We have not been notified of a single wage claim or received anything from third party counsel,” he added. Prior to Cavalry, Rosenberger previously led corporate strategy and development at Relativity Media.
Morale is low in the ranks. Staff members and their families are in financial difficulty and must either borrow to stay afloat or live off their savings to pay mortgages or children’s school fees. Cavalry staff members are currently at an impasse with Rosenberger, after being advised by a lawyer to stay on to keep the counter on wage claims they have filed against the company. A legal representative for Cavalry personnel did not provide comment to Deadline.
The honest thing to do would be for the cavalry to let the staff go, however, once they did they would face back pay for the whole company plus penalties. The staff are now trying to find new jobs and extract all possible projects from the company. Brunetti is the only staff member to date to have left the company as Deadline first reported. Rosenberger, we understand, does not draw a salary from the company.
Some were told by senior management that the commission money had been deposited. In order for them to receive it, they would have to withdraw their wage claims. Staff members don’t bite.
Cavalry employees were told last Halloween that their health insurance was ending the next day. Some believe that the company did not pay for health insurance even before this date. The last paycheck for some arrived on December 30, with no paychecks since.
Sources believe that of the Cavalry’s $14 million in seed capital, $9 million was spent between development and overhead. Deadline showed a bank statement from a Tiger Media Holdings, a joint operation account between Cavalry and its financial partner Titan with a balance of $2.85 million.
A member of staff said when enlightened by such information: “If they have this amount of money, why is no one getting paid?”
Those stiffened include third-party vendors such as social media and podcast publishers, as well as talent who host podcasts. More irony: Cavalry Media has no offices with the company working remotely since the pandemic. This means there are no expensive monthly rentals.
Other criticisms we’ve heard are that the Cavalry committed to hiring vendors and employees, and even encouraged staff to secure intellectual property, when they didn’t have the financial means to cover these obligations. This has left many who work for Cavalry Media in an awkward position with talent reps and industry executives.
Cavalry Media has not had any TV series or movies released. Some of that could be attributed to Covid. In the podcast space, Cavalry has Art fraud, X marks the spot: the legend of Forrest Fenn, and the Oscar Isaac-Edgar Castillo podcast The Rosenberg Affair. Art fraud remains in development with a Wells Tower script as a movie with Netflix. Other series in development include Powerheads at Amazon Studios and The Demon Within at Epix.
Cavalry Media has also been named a defendant in various lawsuits related to the film. Rust, but we’re told they weren’t producers of the doomed Western production (nor of its upcoming continued shoot). The cavalry was named in Rust costumes given that star/producer Alec Baldwin and director Joel Souza are clients of the company. That said, Cavalry Media is looking to get out of the talent management business and into more content creation. This despite the fact that his two sources of income are commissions and podcasts.
Cavalry Media was founded in 2018 with a mission to create high-end, mid-priced movies and TV series for linear and new media platforms in the $40-80 million range.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.