October 12, 2017

"Weinstein Company Was Aware of Payoffs in 2015."

Megan Twohey reports in The NYT.
David Boies, a lawyer who represented Mr. Weinstein when his contract was up for renewal in 2015, said in an interview that the board and the company were made aware at the time of three or four confidential settlements with women.

And in the waning hours of last week, as he struggled to retain control of the business in the wake of allegations first reported by The New York Times, Harvey Weinstein fired off an email to his brother and other board members asserting that they knew about the payoffs, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the confidential communication....

[A]n outside lawyer, H. Rodgin Cohen... assured the board in a September 2015 letter that it was legally safe to retain Mr. Weinstein because there were no unresolved complaints or threats of litigation against him, according to two people who saw the letter and spoke on the condition of anonymity....
Big legal names.

(Half a lifetime ago, I worked in a law firm with H. Rodgin Cohen.)

64 comments:

mccullough said...

4 payoffs is a lot. Board decided to take the chance because Harvey was the company. Time for them to sell off Dimension films, and pay off the new claims. Get some new board members and management who will liquidate the company. Their insurance company will fight any claims against them to cover the new payoffs because I doubt the board ever reported them to the insurer.

Boies is done. The SJW's will devour him.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Does it matter that they were aware of the payoffs? I would have expected that they were.

The issue I don’t understand is why this went SO fast at the end, from disclosure to admission (of sorts - but skipped denial/destroy) to firing, to board resignations.

What is the board scared of? Is it just so toxic that people are jumping ship to cleanse themselves of the slime ?

rhhardin said...

They're big legal names because they do tough rich cases.

rehajm said...

Top. Men.

rhhardin said...

A payoff doesn't mean a lot for rich guys, who have a nuisance threshold for payments.

Nonapod said...

It's kinda like a scene in a movie where the protagonist and the crazy wild card character pull up to a convenience store. The wild card goes inside ostensibly to do regular convenience store things. Smash cut to a minute or to later, the wild card character running out of the store toward the car with a stocking on his head carrying a bag full of cash and junk food, jumping into the back seat while screaming "Drive! Drive!", and the shocked protagonist feels he has no choice but to speed out of there. So now our protagonist is an accomplice to a crime.

Now if the protagonist is fully aware of the wild card's true nature, they're in the wrong for associating with him at all. I find it hard to believe that the Weinstein Company was unaware of the true nature of HW, especially since his nature was a wildly known "open secret". These people are (most likely) accomplices to crimes plain and simple.

AJ Lynch said...

Whose money was used to pay the settlements? The company's or Harvey's personal funds? I guess they could have a tax issue if they deducted the settlement on their tax returns - I am not sure if these types of payments qualify as a business expense.

rhhardin said...

Doctors are miffed at insurance companies paying malpractice suits instead of defending them.

robother said...

Hmmm. I wonder if David Boies advised Weinstein to have his wife suddenly divorce him, to preserve half or more of his assets for her and the kids (and maybe Harvey himself) from litigation/bankruptcy risk. Sure seemed like she went from total support to divorce almost literally overnight.

Owen said...

AlbertAnonymous: "The issue I don’t understand is why this went SO fast at the end, from disclosure to admission (of sorts - but skipped denial/destroy) to firing, to board resignations."

System failure is nonlinear. As Hemingway famously said (bankruptcy), "gradually...and then very suddenly."

What intrigues me is, whose money went into the settlements? Do shareholders (or creditors) have a cause of action for misapplication of corporate assets? Given the way Harvey managed his personal life, why should we expect he was more scrupulous about corporate matters? I get the impression of a toxic Mafia-like culture where his toadies and go-fers just did whatever was needed at the moment.

RICO? SEC? DOJ or State A-G investigations of conspiracy to deprive others of their civil rights, especially a workplace suffused with sexual harassment and cover-ups?

Sebastian said...

Everybody was aware of everything. The question is when and how awareness matters. Then, he was good and powerful prog, loved by other progs. Awareness was irrelevant. Now, he is a despised outcast, dangerous to progs and their cause. Therefore, awareness itself must be purged and history rewritten. But when everyone is aware that you were aware you lose control of the rewrite, as the Hollywood types are discovering.

Thus far, Bill and Hill have not been forced into a major rewrite. Over what they had to do, they maintained control. How much longer?

Jupiter said...

I like that "three or four".

Yancey Ward said...

Here is an interesting essay from Lee Smith about the timing of the two stories on Weinstein:

Link

Amadeus 48 said...

This is inside baseball, but Rogdin Cohen is the biggest of the big. Now all we need is Ed Herlihy of Wachtell Lipton to show up, and we'll have a party.

D.D. Driver said...

Hey Wisconsin taxpayers, aren't you tickled that we are giving millions of tax dollars to Marc Lasry? I guess it's *technically* possible that he "knew nothing" like Sgt Schultz, but it strikes me as unlikely.

Big Mike said...

I'll bet H. Rodgin Cohen and David Boies will never have to eat cats.

Chuck said...

I have never, ever once known of a hint of scandal surrounding Rodge Cohen. This is the first. He is, without doubt, one of the ten most important lawyers in private practice in the United States. Maybe top three. Honestly, I am not aware of a single lawyer who can even come close, to having dealt with the sorts of deals that Rodge Cohen has done. He is the insiders' insider. He was the eye of the storm in the financial crisis. Nobody knew more, nobody did more. At least not in the private practice of law. Maybe, the Secretary of the Treasury was a bigger player. But I sort of doubt it.

buwaya said...

Cohen must then be more implicated in the highest levels of corruption than nearly anyone.

The true significant scandals are not the sort of thing that would be easily apparent, or that could easily be seen to taint an advocate. Arcane manipulations of rules in financial transactions and the details of the enforcement thereof are worth trillions.

mccullough said...

So Cohen is to blame for the financial crisis? Guess he told his clients don't worry the government will bail them out. Don't need to be a lawyer to tell them that. But his connections helped, no doubt.

mccullough said...

Buwaya,

Spot on.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"H. Rodgin Cohen... assured the board in a September 2015 letter that it was legally safe to retain Mr. Weinstein because there were no unresolved complaints or threats of litigation against him"

Are we going to get to see that letter? I'd like to see Althouse blog about that. Imagine that Althouse stayed at Sullivan & Cromwell and rose to the position Cohen now holds. How would she have handled this engagement?

Also, does The Weinstein Company have a malpractice claim against Sullivan & Cromwell? Assume that the claim is not being asserted by the current management but by a receiver or bankruptcy trustee.

Ralph L said...

Do they call him Rod 'n Cone?

holdfast said...

The number of potential legal issues in this case is just epic - you could develop an entire year of law school curriculum off of the various points - legal ethics (Boies and Bloom), potential malpractice (Cohen), fiduciary duties, appropriation of opportunity, corporate veil, owner liability - in addition to the more obvious stuff, criminal sexual assault, unlawful confinement, gross indecency, and of course the employment and family law stuff.

mccullough said...

They call him H-Rod

mccullough said...

Harvey was the company. No way they weren't going to keep him at the time. H-Rod gave the letter and the board relied on their highly-paid prostitute to give it.

holdfast said...

I am sure we all remember that about a decade ago Cohen was at least tangentially involved in the Aaron Charney affair at S&C.

https://abovethelaw.com/2007/11/just-how-far-did-sc-bend-over-for-aaron-charney/

buwaya said...

To keep things in perspective, consider that obe Tom Steyer is worth, political funding-wise, dozens of Harvey Weinsteins; there are dozens of Tom Steyers, and Steyer himself is mainly just one of many conduits for his own clients.

And that there is a vast industry of politically implicated institutions backing the Democratic party.

The Weinstein thing is just a small crack in that whole array.

holdfast said...

Tom Steyer can't help get your film an Oscar. Weinstein could. Money is not the only important currency.

TreeJoe said...

Ann:

Have you read the "CNN Exclusive" with Hillary Clinton on this matter.

I want to highlight a gem:

"On her donations, Clinton added that it wasn't possible to give the money back but that she would donate it to charity.
"What other people are saying, what my former colleagues are saying, is they're going to donate it to charity, and of course I will do that," she said. "I give 10% of my income to charity every year, this will be part of that. There's no -- there's no doubt about it.""

So she's equating Weinstein's donations to her political campaigns as equivalent to her personal income. She's indicating that she'll keep to the 10% donation to charity and that this will help her achieve that, so perhaps she can donate less than prior years from her actual personal income.

And, lastly, it was shown during the election that almost all of her personal donations went to the Clinton foundation. which is now shut down. So what is she going to donate too?

Just so awesomely Hillary.

Ann Althouse said...

“Are we going to get to see that letter? I'd like to see Althouse blog about that. Imagine that Althouse stayed at Sullivan & Cromwell and rose to the position Cohen now holds. How would she have handled this engagement?”

I’m so mnot the lawyer type. I was lucky there was such a thing as being. a lawprof, and even that was revealed to be not a good fit after the discovery of my true metier, blogging.

If I had gotten together with Meade when I was in my 20s... Oh, I don’t know what...

Gusty Winds said...

The actresses that will stay forever silent are the ones who slept with him to advance their careers. I'll bet it's an impressive list.

Larry J said...

People are shocked, shocked! to learn that some powerful men in Hollywood abuse young women. This is nothing new. From The Godfather:

Jack Woltz: You don't understand. Johnny Fontane never gets that movie. That part is perfect for him. It'll make him a big star. I'm gonna run him out of the movies. And let me tell you why. Johnny Fontane ruined one of Woltz International's most valuable proteges. For three years we had her under contract, singing lessons, dancing lessons, acting lessons. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was gonna make her a big star. And let me be even more frank, just to show you that I'm not a hard-hearted man, that it's not all dollars and cents. She was beautiful! She was young, she was innocent. She was the greatest piece of ass I've ever had, and I've had 'em all over the world. And then Johnny Fontaine comes along with his olive oil voice and guinea charm and she runs off. She threw it all away just to make me look ridiculous. And a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous. Now you get the hell out of here! And if that goomba tries any rough stuff, you tell him I ain't no bandleader. Yeah, I heard that story.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Hillary has always been charitable... with other peoples money.

Chuck said...

mccullough said...
So Cohen is to blame for the financial crisis? Guess he told his clients don't worry the government will bail them out. Don't need to be a lawyer to tell them that. But his connections helped, no doubt.


It is dumbfuck comments like this, that make me hesitant to post here at all. No; Rodgin Cohen was not, as far as I know or as far as I have ever heard, involved in the creation of mortgage-backed securities or the abuses in the industry. He's an M&A guy. A corporate finance and bond-issuance guy.

Rodge Cohen's Herculean job was unwinding the financial crisis. He wasn't the creator. That will probably never play, with cranks whose brains have been deep-fried in Limbaugh and Hannity and Breitbart. Sorry.

I am actually surprised to see Cohen's name surface in anything like the Weinstein scandals. It's as much of a litigation thing as anything. It would be right up Boies' alley. Not Cohen's. I'd strongly suspect somebody else at the firm did the work and Rodge Cohen signed off on the letter.

robother said...

Jeez, Ann, the what ifs. Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

holdfast said...

It was a diligence / corporate governance thing. M&A lawyers do, or supervise, a lot of diligence as part of the M&A process.

Gahrie said...

It is dumbfuck comments like this, that make me hesitant to post here at all

Apparently not quite hesitant enough......

Gahrie said...

He is the insiders' insider

Well now we know why lifelong Republican and member of the GOP Establishment Chuck likes and defends him........

Susan said...

Hillary's charitable donations can still go to the Clinton Library. That's still open for business as far as I know.

Ole HW will be happy to know his money can still fund literary endeavors. Him being a patron of the arts and all.

buwaya said...

If one is an insider, one knows.
If one knows and does not tell, one is complicit.
Therefore Cohen and whomever worked with him are complicit.
The entire financial system and its regulators were corrupt.
By their knowledge, so we're all their hirelings like Cohen.
And they are still the same now as then.

Sally327 said...

"If I had gotten together with Meade when I was in my 20s... Oh, I don’t know what...

10/12/17, 11:56 AM"

I don't know either but I bet there'd be a dog in the story somewhere.

TreeJoe said...

Why can't donations given to Hillary be given back?

Just curious - she said they couldn't be. Why not?

Nonapod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Assrat said...

>People are shocked, shocked! to learn that some powerful men in Hollywood abuse young women.

Can people stop saying this? People are shocked at the scope, but I don't believe anyone's surprised it happens.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

Just curious - she said they couldn't be. Why not?

I remember the old show, The Kids in the Hall had a skit with a great response to your question:

"Because that would require effort!"

mccullough said...

Chuck,

You answered your own question about your M&A hero. He was signing letters to the board of a private company that makes and/or distributes movies and tv shows. He's a fixer. While you may be surprised by an M&A guy being involved in financial instruments, no one else is. How did he help resolve the financial crisis if he knows nothing about mortgage backed securities, etc?

You don't know anything about H-Rod. Read Too Big To Fail.

mccullough said...

Buwaya,

Don't bother educating Chuck about how insiders work. He's too naive and at this point to old to wise up. He's surprised H-Rod signed a letter to the Weinstein board because Chuck believes H-Rod is only an M&A lawyer. And OJ was just a running back.

Original Mike said...

"It is dumbfuck comments like this, that make me hesitant to post here at all."

And it's lines like this that keep me coming back.

mccullough said...

Chuck is the resident dumbfuck. Spouts off nonsense then concluded that he's surprised H-Rod has his hands in non-M&A stuff. And also says H-Rod had nothing to do with the financial crisis because he only handles M&A. Then says the insider who knows nothing about exotic financial instruments that his clients used to take the economy then was indispensable in solving a crisis he knew nothing about.

Kirk Parker said...

Chuckie,

"He is the insiders' insider."

Ahh, so he's Part Of The Problem. Thanks for the info.

William Chadwick said...

In related news, spokespersons for Harvey Weinstein have announced that once Mr. Weinstein gets out of rehab, the bloated, repulsively ugly former movie mogul will be retiring from the entertainment business altogether. Instead, he will be partnering with Miracle-Gro to produce a new, secret-ingredient plant food.

narayanan said...

Boies vs Cohen for the malpractice against Sullivan and Cromwell!!!

line up gentlemen and place your bets.

Achilles said...

AlbertAnonymous said...

What is the board scared of? Is it just so toxic that people are jumping ship to cleanse themselves of the slime ?

Fiduciary responsibility.

Stockholders are losing a lot of money right now. Stockholders who weren't apprised of the settlements or can deny they were. The board has responsibilities to work on the stockholders behalf. The board put a rapist in charge of the company.

The next part doesn't make the news. A lot of lawyers make their living in the next part.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ralph L said...
Do they call him Rod 'n Cone?


I see what you did there.



Chuck said...

Honestly, I am not aware of a single lawyer who can even come close, to having dealt with the sorts of deals that Rodge Cohen has done.

Gee, sounds just like Roy Cohn.

Achilles said...

[A]n outside lawyer, H. Rodgin Cohen... assured the board in a September 2015 letter that it was legally safe to retain Mr. Weinstein because there were no unresolved complaints or threats of litigation against him, according to two people who saw the letter and spoke on the condition of anonymity....Big legal names.

Oh boy. That is going to be lovely in the upcoming stockholder lawsuits against the board. And the victims who will become creditors. I wonder how much money the Weinstein company owed people who aren't going to get paid back now.

I assume Cohen was giving advice. Does that give the board a grievance against Cohen?

When the money runs out in a corporation, you find out who people really are.

Ralph L said...

People complaining about the number of Weinstein posts should add up the number of comments we've generated. And some are worth reading besides mine.

Achilles said...

TreeJoe said...
Why can't donations given to Hillary be given back?

Just curious - she said they couldn't be. Why not?



Because then she wouldn't have as much money as she did.

BDNYC said...

Never heard of H. Rodgin Cohen. Not a big legal name, IMHO.

AJ Lynch said...

What William Chadwick said LMAO at 1:53PM.

YoungHegelian said...

As the number of players in this farce gets larger & larger, I'm starting to suspect that Ol' Harv believed in sharing the wealth. And I don't mean money either. Let's put this bluntly: HW had access to a never ending stream of hi-octane pussy. Money these highly successful men have & they could get more. But, a beautiful actress there to please him on demand? That's something else again.

I'm thinking that he arranged assignations between his good buddies & the "talent". Not only do I suspect that he often reminded his compatriots that they owed him, but I'm betting that he kept records of those assignations for use in the future.

Like now.

The Godfather said...

H. Rodgin Cohen ("Rodgie" I think he was then) was my neighbor in a freshman residence at H*rvard.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Is David Boies acting here as Harvey Weinstein's enforcer?

Why else would a lawyer of David Boies's standing be talking to the press about his representation of a client? I think one can presume that Harvey must have given him permission, perhaps even asked him to do it.

Harvey may see a perverse way out by helping his victims get compensation for his wrongdoing from The Weinstein Company. That fits his m.o., doesn't it? Or it may just be his revenge for them not sticking by him when he desperately wanted them to. Or both. That fits his m.o. too.

Bay Area Guy said...

I'd like to see David Boies get much more aggressive -- the best defense is often a great offense.

Boies should take the initiative to file a Restraining Order against all the potted plants of NYC, whose leaves may have casually brushed up against Harvey's schlong.