The latest filings in The Weinstein Co.’s bankruptcy case draw a clearer picture of the studio’s legal and financial woes.
The studio identifies nearly a dozen outstanding lawsuits filed against The Weinstein Co., many stemming from co-funder Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Some cases received widespread attention, such the civil rights case brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, or the class action suit filed in Los Angeles on behalf of dozens of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault or lewd conduct.
Other filings received less notice, such as American Express’ efforts to collect on an unpaid balance of nearly $1.4 million.
“I’m not surprised by the magnitude of claims,” said bankruptcy attorney David Neale, who’s not involved in the case. “That’s what motivated the filing.”
The Weinstein Co. doesn’t attempt to attach a monetary value to the civil suits, some of which seek millions of dollars in damages. Its unclear how much these women, if successful, would recover through bankruptcy court.
The studio does its best to ballpark the unsecured claims, which so far total $676,633. The Weinstein Co. admits “it is possible that inadvertent omissions or inclusions may have occurred,” and that figure could well be adjusted.
Other liabilities loom, such as the $45 million lawsuit brought by A.I. International Holdings, an affiliate of Access Industries, a group of companies founded by billionaire industrialist Len Blavatnik. The lender sought immediate repayment of its loan following Weinstein’s firing, saying its prospects of collecting “dramatically imploded” as a result of the public scandal.
Robert K. Rasmussen, an expert in bankruptcy and corporate reorganization who teaches at the USC Gould School of Law, said lawsuits are commonly used by parties to stake their claims in bankruptcy cases.
“The whole point of bankruptcy is figure out the assets, get a price on them and figure out what you owe,” Rasmussen said. “People are told, ‘If you don’t speak up now and tell us what you’re owed, here’s what you get — nothing.'”
Today’s court filings afford glimpses of how the The Weinstein Co.’s Chief Restructuring Officer, Robert Del Genio, is attempting to conserve cash. The company asked the court’s permission to terminate an unexpired lease for an office blocks away from the Hudson River, in the 375 Greenwich Street building that houses the Tribeca Film Center.
The monthly payment is $37,237, with some $147,864 past due on the lease, which hasn’t been paid since last December.
The Weinstein Co. has existing contracts or agreements with three dozen companies, including BBC Worldwide, The Walt Disney Co., Gem Entertainment in Budapest, Technicolor Cinema Distribution and Y Movie, subsidiary of Ron Burkle’s investment firm Yucaipa Cos.
The financial commitments aren’t spelled out yet in court filings.
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