The fund set aside by the potential new owners of The Weinstein Company to compensate victims of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct has more than tripled today as part of discussions with the New York Attorney General’s office.
At a meeting with the Empire State’s top prosecutor and the investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet seeking to acquire TWC for $500 million, one of the first orders of business once the pleasantries were over was to boost the fund, we’ve learned. Originally set at $10 million in the proposal put forth by Contreras-Sweet, the former Small Business Administration chief, and billionaire Ron Burkle to acquire TWC for $500 million, the fund has now risen in “productive discussions” to about $40 million, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
In the get together today, attended by Consreras-Sweet, Burkle, TWC reps and the NY AG himself, the increase was a priority of Eric T. Schneiderman, who filed suit 10 days ago against TWC alleging a pervasive pattern of illegal activity and seeking protection for the company’s employees. The civil rights lawsuit arose out of an investigation the Democrat’s office started late last year into TWC and its now pink-slipped co-founder Harvey Weinstein.
“Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman said in a statement that accompanied Friday’s filing of the suit. “Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear.”
Harvey Weinstein himself has said of the NY AG suit via his flacks that while his “behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality.”
Pulled together rapidly yesterday, today’s meeting may prove the last-ditch effort to salvage the Contreras-Sweet-fronted purchase and creation of a TWC 2.0. If successful, the face-to-face could also halt a potential slide towards bankruptcy for TWC, which has struggled since the October 5, 2017 exposé on Weinstein’s decades of alleged vile misconduct against actors, assistants and many others.
To that end, Schneiderman’s office is also seeking assurance that there will be no financial compensation out of the sale for those who “enabled” the now much accused Weinstein, who is being investigated by police and officials in Los Angeles, New York, Beverly Hills and the UK.
Today’s talks also come as ex-TWC COO David Glasser is now threatening an $85 million lawsuit against the company for his sudden firing for cause February 16 by the company’s board. While never naming Glasser in the civil rights suit and subsequent media appearances, Schneiderman has made it clear that he and his office believed the senior leadership at TWC was either aware and enabled or deliberately turned a blind eye to Weinstein’s behavior.