The saga of the sale of The Weinstein Company took another turn today as the leading bidders for the company are seeking to loosen a Gordian knot with the New York State Attorney General’s office. While nothing seems set yet, discussions are underway to hold a Wednesday meeting between AG Eric T. Schneiderman and the investor group leader Maria Contreras-Sweet and Yucaipa’s Ron Burkle, sources confirm to Deadline.
This comes 10 days after the NY AG’s office hit the halt button on what looked to be a done deal for the sale of TWC, filing a a civil rights lawsuit against the company and its founders Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. If the meeting happens, it could see a sale deal re-started, instead of the company slipping further toward bankruptcy. The suit from Schneiderman, a Democrat, stalled plans by the group fronted by former Obama-appointed Small Business Administration chief Contreras-Sweet and billionaire Burkle to acquire TWC for $500 million.
Schneiderman has said he intervened in part in court because Contreras-Sweet had refused to talk or meet with the Attorney General’s office, and he is working to ensure victims would protected. In that vein, the AG’s office is seeking a hefty victims’ compensation fund. The currently promised $10 million letter of credit would be inadequate to cover all those expenses, Schneiderman has indicated. They are also looking for strong protections for current and future employees.
Schneiderman’s team additionally want ironclad assurance that there will be no financial compensation out of the sale for those who “enabled” the now much accused, sued and disgraced Harvey Weinstin, who is being investigated by police and officials in LA, New York, Beverly Hills and the UK.
This potential fresh start and escape from bankruptcy also comes after longtime TWC COO and probably CEO of TWC 2.0 David Glasser was canned by the board for cause suddenly on February 16. While not named as a defendant in the NY AG’s lawsuit, Glasser was placed at the center of the months-long investigation into who knew what about Weinstein’s misconduct and when. In the recent legal move by Schneiderman’s office, at a February 12 press conference and in tweets by the Empire State official, Glasser was put in the spotlight of what was termed a “pervasive pattern of illegal activity” at TWC.
The NY AG’s office had no comment on any possible sit-down when contacted by Deadline.