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The sale of The Weinstein Co. to an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet may not be scrapped after all.
Contreras-Sweet and Ron Burkle, who is a minority investor in the bid, met with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and 10 of his lawyers on Wednesday to talk about a revamped company. Sources say the bidders offered to substantially increase the size of a victims’ fund, although other insiders maintain the AG’s office was never privy to the actual number until Wednesday’s session.
Sources on both sides tell The Hollywood Reporter that “progress was made,” and that the discussions were productive.
On Feb. 11, Schneiderman — who had serious concerns about the sale and the size of the fund — filed a sweeping lawsuit against TWC and founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein, alleging the company violated the state’s civil rights, human rights and business laws by allegedly engaging in “years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends that extended from in or about 2005 through at least in or about October 2017.”
The following day, the AG blamed both the board and longtime TWC COO David Glasser — who was to serve as CEO under Contreras-Sweet — for being complicit in covering up Harvey Weinstein’s alleged offenses. “Management, including the COO and the human resources staff, never launched a single formal investigation into any of the complaints of discrimination, harassment or abuse,” said Schneiderman.
Last Friday, the remaining members of the board, including Bob Weinstein, fired Glasser for “cause,” but offered no further explanation. On Wednesday, Glasser stated that he is planning to file his own lawsuit against TWC alleging wrongful termination, retaliation, breach of contract and defamation. The lawsuit will name the board members personally and will seek damages in excess of $85 million.
Contreras-Sweet, a former member of the Obama administration, backed a $500 million bid to buy TWC that envisions installing a female-majority board and setting aside a victims’ fund.
Contreras-Sweet did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The AG’s office declined to comment on the status of the suit.
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