It was revealed on Wednesday (Dec. 7) that Deidre and Scott Gurney, the producers who brought us Duck Dynasty, were "temporarily suspended amid an internal fraud investigation".
Varietyreports their temporary suspension has now turned into a permanent termination from ITV, which bought the married couple's company, Gurney Productions, in 2012. Deirdre and Scott were still co-CEOs of Gurney Productions and owned a 38.5% stake in the company.
A Gurney Productions spokesperson released a statement announcing their termination.
"Following a meeting with Scott and Deirdre Gurney, the Board of Gurney Productions has been left with no alternative but to terminate their employment and file a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract,” the statement read.
According to Variety, the lawsuit alleges that the Gurneys secretly set up a new company called Snake River Productions in August and in September, used the new company to buy distributing rights for one of their reality shows, Northern Territory, from Gurney Productions.
The purchase totaled up to $3.6 million, which increased Gurney Productions' Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA), increasing Deirdre and Scott's minority stake in the company.
At a September board meeting, Deirdre was asked about her questionably high EBITDA and told the board about the Northern Territory sale. She claimed to not remember the name of the company that obtained the rights, which was her new secret company, Snake River.
ITV put the pieces of the puzzle together and figured out she basically sold it to herself. The lawsuit also alleges that the Gurneys charged over $500,000 in personal expenses to the company. including childcare payments, mortgage payments, travel costs, dues at their country club, and more. Read more about the lawsuit here.
The lawsuit and termination of Deirdre and Scott Gurney should not affect production of Duck Dynasty, as episodes of the final season are almost done filming.