“The Book of Mormon” is a Broadway musical set in Uganda. It’s a wild hit because it also sends up the whole world of Joseph Smith, founder of the Utah-based religion. After three years you still can’t get a ticket to this show.
Yet, no one has been deterred from doing similar missionary work in Africa. The newest name is R. Todd Neilson, Hollywood’s most renown and controversial bankruptcy trustee, based in Century City, Los Angeles. He’s also the internal trustee for Solyndra LLC, President Obama’s $80 billion clean-technology program gone bad.
Neilson– a former FBI agent– has been involved in cases in recent years including Mike Tyson, Joe Francis of “Girls Gone Wild,” Ponzi schemer Reed Slatkin of Earthlink, Death Row Records, the estate of pop star Billy Preston and so on. The internet is bursting with cases that involve Neilson, whose reputation, for better or worse, now precedes him.
But now in public filings, Neilson is resigning from one case because he says he’s moving to Zimbabwe for 18 months to do missionary work for the Mormon church. Harare is a long way from Hollywood and creature comforts.
Coincidentally, Neilson’s former partner Wayne Elggren did the same thing in 2003. The partnership ended, which sent Neilson into another firm.
Fortune magazine was one of Neilson’s most vociferous critics on Solyndra. The magazine wrote: “…when Neilson took his talents to Solyndra, he blew it. Big time.” Neilson, who tenaciously fights with celebrities for years over their bankruptcies, concluded in just four months that Solyndra was clean.
Will Neilson save bankrupt souls? He couldn’t do it in Los Angeles, but maybe in Zimbabwe he’ll have more luck.