A World War II veteran claims the crew of the upcoming Netflix series “Maniac” trashed his Valley Stream home last year, removing decades-old bushes, destroying valuable memorabilia and losing boxes of priceless family heirlooms, including photographs of family members who survived the Holocaust, according to a new federal lawsuit.
Sidney Price, 92, filed the suit Thursday in Eastern District Court in Central Islip. It seeks undisclosed damages against the producer, Paramount Pictures, for the crew’s “extreme and outrageous” conduct.
Price, an attorney and certified public accountant who as a tail gunner flew 44 combat missions over the South Pacific against the Japanese, according to the suit, agreed in September to rent out his Sherwood Street home to Netflix to film the 10-episode series. “Maniac” is a dark comedy starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill that is based on a Norwegian TV series of the same name that focuses on a man who lives a fantasy life in his dreams while he is in a mental institution.
Contract documents included in the lawsuit show Price was paid $15,500 for 10 days of preparation, filming and wrap-up at the house. The contract stipulates that the crew would “leave the property in as good order as when received by the company, reasonable wear and tear excepted.”
But Price and his son, Richard Price, who also lives in Valley Stream and runs a tax and accounting business with his father, claims the crew breached the contract, filming in unauthorized locations, damaging personal property and loading boxes of family belongings from Price’s garage onto a truck.
Those items, including pictures of family members from when they were imprisoned in concentration camps, wedding photos, pictures of Sidney Price’s late wife, Lillian Price, and videos of his grandchildren’s bar and bat mitzvahs, are still missing, the suit said.
“Richard Price demanded that nothing should be loaded on a truck,” the suit claims. “A worker at the residence said, ‘We’re Netflix. We can do what we want.’ “
Paramount and Netflix did not respond Friday to requests for comment on the lawsuit.
Richard Price said he went to the Fourth Precinct in Hewlett to file a complaint and an officer told him it was a “contractual dispute that did not require police intervention,” the suit said.
“The Nassau County Police Department strives to assist our residents and especially our veterans with any assistance when possible,” said Nassau Police Det. Michael Bitsko. “In cases where contracts are involved and no criminality has occurred the complainant has the option to take legal action and have the courts determine the outcome.”
The lawsuit contends that the crew “recklessly” damaged boxes of valuable collectibles that were to be sold through Richard Price’s memorabilia business. They included a $1,500 signed poster by Harrison Ford, and signed baseballs, footballs, basketballs, posters and guitars.
The crew, the suit contends, also removed several bushes, which measured up to 10 feet in height, 15 feet wide and were about 60 years old. The production company planted “unsightly” new shrubs 3 feet in height using an unlicensed contractor, the suit charges.
Reached Friday, Sidney Price declined to comment on the suit. Efforts to reach Richard Price were not successful.
During an incident on Sept. 15, Richard Price objected and blocked efforts by the crew to remove several windows from the home. Later that evening, after a “heated exchange” with a member of the production team, Price was taken to the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack, the suit alleges.
Price has no history of heart problems and the windows were ultimately not removed, the suit claims.
The crew also damaged the home’s concrete steps and broke a back fence, the document claims.