Thomas Barrick’s Colony Capital might want to hold off on its planned purchase of “some or all” of the Weinstein Company’s major assets, because the company might need those to settle a civil probe that’s been opened by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
According to the New York Times and the New York Post, Schneiderman’s Civil Rights Bureau on Monday sent a subpoena to the Weinstein Company – which recently accepted an emergency loan from Colony - seeking a laundry list of documents — personnel files, criteria for hiring, promoting and firing, formal and informal complaints of sexual harassment or age or gender discrimination, and records of how those complaints were handled, said a source familiar with the investigation.
Schneiderman also wants paperwork and communications related to eight settlements that Weinstein reached with accusers that were first reported by the New York Times. The investigation will also examine whether the company should be held financially responsible for any of Weinstein’s misconduct.
The question of who at the company knew what about Weinstein’s aggressive behavior has been widely explored since the scandal broke earlier this month. Reporting by the New Yorker suggests that most of the firm’s employees knew both Harvey and Bob Weinstein to be difficult, aggressive and abusive in their professional lives – and some were aware of Harvey’s sexual transgressions.
“No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
“If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”
The inquiry will seek to determine whether the company should be held financially liable for Weinstein’s behavior, according to the NYT.
David Boies, a lawyer who has represented Weinstein and the company, said the company and its board were aware of as many as four payouts to women related to Harvey’s behavior. Lance Maerov, a board member, said he was told of only one settlement with a woman who complained of misconduct. The company did not return requests for comment on Monday.
Weinstein was fired by the company’s board shortly after the scandal broke. He recently completed a one-week stay at a $2,000-a-night rehab center. While he was there, the LAPD announced it had opened a sex crimes investigation into him – bringing the number of criminal investigations into Weinstein’s behavior to four. They include: The DOJ, LAPD, NYPD and Scotland Yard.
As the Times points out, civil investigations like this can be very costly. Those found in violation can face fines and other penalties. In 2015, ConEd was required to pay nearly $4 million to a group of hundreds of female employees after an investigation by the AG and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found multiple instances of sexual discrimination.