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While the board of the embattled Weinstein Co. has insisted it had no prior knowledge of misconduct on behalf of its co-founder Harvey Weinstein before allegations from multiple women charging sexual harassment, abuse and rape began appearing last week, a new New York Times report says that the board was aware of a number of confidential settlements two years ago, in 2015.
In the Times story, published tonight, attorney David Boies, who represented Weinstein in his 2015 contract negotiation, said the board and the company were aware at the time of three or four payoffs to women. Lance Maerov, the board member who handled the contract negotiation, said to the Times that he had been told of the settlements, but assumed they were to cover up consensual affairs and that while he was concerned about whether Weinstein’s behavior posed any legal liability for the company, he had received assurances that no company money was used in the settlements and no further payoffs were pending.
The Times also reported that while the board was not allowed to directly review Weinstein’s personnel file, an outside attorney, H. Rodgin Cohen, examined it and told the board there were no unresolved complaints or threats of litigation against Weinstein.
A spokesman for the board did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but in an earlier statement released Tuesday, the board, which now consists of just four members, said that the allegations against Weinstein “come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”
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