Claude Cockrell Jr., who last spring announced he and some [WORD ILLEGIBLE] would buy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., and rid the screen of crime and sex movies, was charged yesterday in U.S. District Court here with securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cockrell consented to the SEC complaint without admitting or denying the allegations.
For a few days in May, Cockrell's alleged takeover bid caused a sensation in the financial and movie trade press. When Cockrell was exposed as an ex-convict, "Variety," the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] business weekly, said in a headline: "Parole officer keeps 'raider' at home."
A spokeswoman at the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville said yesterday that Cockrell was back behind bars because of an alleged parole violation.
She said Cockrell was sentenced last week to two years for illegal possession of firearms. This penalty to run concurrently with a three to eight year sentence he received in 1973 for receiving and concealing stolen property. He was on parole when he became involved in the Twentieth Century bid.
The spokesperson added that Cockrell is also awaiting the action of a grand jury in Hardin County, Tenn., which is hearing evidence that he obtained money under false pretenses. She said that case is not connected with the Twentieth Century Fox affair.
Beginning in early March and continuing until mid-May, Cockrell along with two Tennessee oil and gas promoters and a two people in the movie business in Los Angeles discussed a takeover of Twentieth Century, according to the SEC. The SEC complaint does not name the others involved with Cockrell.
While Cockrell claimed to represent shareholdres who controlled more than 20 per cent of Twentieth Century's 7.6 million shares outstanding, two persons who were associated with Cockrell owned a mere 40 shares, according to the SEC.
On May 10, the day he called a press conference in Nashville to announce his acquisition plans, Cockrell bought 10 shares of the movie company - the full extent of his holdings, the SEC said.
The May 11 issue The Wall Street Journal quoted Cockrell as saying, "We'll get rid of some of this damn crime on the screen." And he added that "there's too much sex" in movies.
Cockrell was asked what he would do about Fox chairman and president Dennis Stanfill if the takeover was completed. "I couldn't say that I would or wouldn't replace him. I don't even know him," Cockrell replied.
In Los Angeles, Stanfill was quoted as describing the Cockrell bid as "indeed bizarre."