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The Journal Gazette

  • Weinstein

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 1:00 am

NY: Let the buyer beware

Sues to halt Weinstein sale unless victims compensated

MICHAEL R. SISAK and ALEXANDRA OLSON | Associated Press

NEW YORK – New York's attorney general said Monday that executives at Harvey Weinstein's movie studio enabled and covered up dozens of sexual misconduct allegations against the Hollywood mogul and that any sale of the company must include compensation for victims and protections for employees.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office filed a lawsuit against the company Sunday, as a deal was expected to close, to make sure that potential buyers know the extent of “pervasive patterns of illegal activity” at The Weinstein Co. and to ensure executives involved in the alleged cover up are ousted.

Schneiderman said an offer from a group led by former U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet would have put Weinstein Co. executive David Glasser in charge of the company despite evidence he failed to stop Weinstein and never had the human resources department launch a formal investigation into allegations against him.

Schneiderman said his office's four-month investigation uncovered “a pervasive corporate culture that enabled, encouraged and sustained years of abusive conduct that should have been shut down by any corporate officers with any sense of integrity.”

“We have never seen anything as despicable as what we've seen here,” Schneiderman said.

Glasser and The Weinstein Co. did not immediately respond to messages.

Schneiderman said he did not oppose the sale of the company behind Oscar winners “The King's Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” but that any deal must include assurances of financial compensation for women who say they were harassed or abused by Weinstein.

He said documents his office reviewed during its investigation showed that the Contreras-Sweet offer did not include any reference to a dedicated victim compensation fund and instead relied on insurance policies and a letter of credit that he said would be eaten up by legal fees and other expenses.

The deal also would have kept non-disclosure agreements in place that have been keeping Weinstein's accusers from speaking publicly about his alleged misconduct, Schneiderman said.