Page 12 of 19

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:31 am
by admin
Was Kennedy Tied to the Mob?: Rigged Elections, Shared Mistresses, And An Assassination Plot
by Patrick J. Kiger
National Geographic
October 23, 2013




It seems almost unfathomable that one of the most admired Presidents in U.S. history may have had ties to mobsters. Nevertheless, in the half-century since President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, dark allegations have arisen about dealings between JFK and organized crime figures. Some even have charged—though without conclusive proof—that the President's killing actually was a mob hit.

Much of the speculation about an illicit working relationship between JFK and the mafia focuses upon Sam Giancana, the former head of the Chicago crime syndicate, who had a number of apparent Venn-diagram intersections with the President.

-- Sam Giancana

Giancana (pictured) had longtime ties to the Kennedy clan, going back to JFK's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was involved with Giancana in the bootlegging business during Prohibition. Additionally, Gianciana was an associate of singer Frank Sinatra, a close Kennedy friend, and allegedly was a donor to JFK's 1960 Presidential campaign, at a time when politicians weren't required to disclose their deep-pockets contributors.

There also have been allegations that Giancana secretly helped JFK win the 1960 West Virginia primary, in which he bested fellow U.S. Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn. In 2009, Tina Sinatra, daughter of Kennedy friend Frank Sinatra, told the TV program "60 Minutes" that the legendary singer—at the behest of JFK's father, Joseph P. Kennedy—approached Giancana. Sinatra allegedly asked Giancana to use mob muscle to pressure local union members to vote for JFK. The request was made through an intermediate, Sinatra, because "it would be in Jack Kennedy's best interest if his father did not make the contact directly," Tina Sinatra explained.

In his 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh alleged that the elder Kennedy eventually did meet with Giancana in Chicago, to solicit his support for JFK in the general election.

During the Kennedy Administration, the Chicago mobster, along with other crime figures, is known to have been enlisted by the CIA to plot the killing of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Giancana and Kennedy also shared a mistress, Judith Campbell Exner, with whom they were involved with at different times (Kennedy first, then the mob boss). In a 1988 People magazine article, Exner claimed that she arranged a meeting between then-Presidential candidate Kennedy and Giancana at the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami in April 1960 at JFK's request. "I think I may need his help in the campaign," she claimed that Kennedy told her. Subsequently, Exner claimed, she arranged nine other meetings in 1960 and 1961, and personally witnessed at least one of the sit-downs. In addition, Exner later claimed that she carried mysterious envelopes between Kennedy and Giancana.

Giancana was murdered in 1975 just before he was scheduled to testify to a U.S. Senate committee investigating the CIA, with whom he had participated in a Castro assassination plot.

The suspicions about links between JFK and mobsters also fuel conspiracy theories that the mob may somehow have been involved in the President's murder.

The mob certainly had potential motives. Several mob leaders were upset that Kennedy had failed to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who had closed down their lucrative casinos in Havana after he took power in 1959. The President's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, further had aroused their animosity by launching a high-profile probe of organized crime and aggressively pursued Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa (pictured) for alleged corruption and ties to the Mafia.

-- Jimmy Hoffa

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations re-examined acoustic recordings of the gun shots in Dealey Plaza that day, eye-witness accounts, as well as Oswald's possible ties to the Mob, and reported that Kennedy's murder probably was the product of a conspiracy, but found no evidence that organized crime syndicates as a group had played a role. The committee also didn't rule out the possibility that individual mobsters with a beef against JFK could have played a role.

The House assassination committee's chief counsel and staff director, G. Robert Blakey, told the New York Times in 1979 that in his own mind, the link was much clearer. "I think the Mob did it," he said.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:00 am
by admin
How two publications raced each other to disclose a Hollywood horror story
by Paul Farhi
The Washington Post
October 10, 2017



Journalist Ronan Farrow arrives for the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Like heavyweights exchanging haymakers, two New York news outlets have taken turns over the past few days landing knockout blows against Harvey Weinstein, who just days earlier was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.

The New York Times was the first to report last week about Weinstein’s alleged predations on actresses and underlings who worked on his movies and for his Hollywood production companies, Miramax and the Weinstein Co. But in a story published Tuesday and written by Ronan Farrow — himself the progeny of Hollywood royalty — the New Yorker magazine added significant detail to the Times’ initial report.

This was followed two hours later by another Times story that included new accounts about Weinstein from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

The 1-2-3 combination portrayed Weinstein unmistakably as a serial harasser and — at least in Farrow’s bombshell account — as an alleged rapist.

The revelations were the product of a journalistic footrace between Farrow and the Times’ reporters, led by investigative reporter Jodi Kantor. The two outlets became aware that they were chasing the same story weeks ago when they began interviewing some of the same people, including actress Rosanna Arquette.

“We knew they were working on something,” said Times Editor Dean Baquet on Tuesday. “And we were very competitive. . . . It did not cause us to rush through the reporting, but we certainly were determined to move quickly.”

New Yorker Editor David Remnick praised the Times’ work but suggested Farrow’s story wasn’t quite complete when the newspaper posted its first article last week. “I am not the least competitive person in the world,” he said, “but our stories are ready when they are ready, no matter what the competition does.”

The three stories report similar details and generally corroborate and complement each other. They describe encounters between Weinstein and young women that fit a pattern. Women quoted by both publications say they were lured to hotel rooms or other private places to discuss film work. They were then pressured for sexual favors by Weinstein with the implicit or overt promise of advancing their careers.

The stories also describe the ways in which Weinstein and his assistants kept the encounters quiet through intimidation, such as planting unfavorable stories about them in the news media, or via a series of cash payments for their silence.

The stories differ only in the degree of the alleged behavior, all of which Weinstein has denied. Farrow reports that Weinstein raped three women, including the actress-director Asia Argento and an aspiring actress named Lucia Evans.

Farrow’s story also adds an important corroborating element: a recording of Weinstein pressuring a model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, to enter his hotel room. Gutierrez had earlier reported to New York police that Weinstein had sexually assaulted her in a business meeting; officials obtained the recording by outfitting Gutierrez with a hidden wire (Weinstein was never charged with a crime).

The Times’ stories were principally written and reported by Kantor, who shared a byline with Megan Twohey on the first story last Thursday, and with Rachel Abrams on Tuesday.

Farrow had been working on the story for NBC News for months and had made contact with some of Weinstein’s accusers. But his NBC bosses balked at airing the story. There is dispute over why, though an NBC employee familiar with the matter said Farrow lacked sufficient reporting to get such a powerful story on the air.

In any case, a frustrated Farrow negotiated the release of the story from NBC’s control in August. He subsequently brought it to the New Yorker. (Farrow did not respond to requests for comment.)

To an extent, the competition to break the story may have been good for both publications. With several reporters pursuing long-standing rumors about Weinstein, sources who had been reluctant to talk might have been emboldened to come forward.

The Times’ initial story on Thursday, and the widespread condemnation of Weinstein that immediately followed, appeared to set the stage for Paltrow, Jolie and Mira Sorvino to discuss their experiences with Weinstein in the New Yorker and the Times follow-up article. Said Baquet, “I’m a firm believer in competition. It is healthy. It makes us all better.”

Farrow, 29, is the son of actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, although his paternity is disputed. Mia Farrow suggested in 2013 that Ronan’s father might be Frank Sinatra, to whom Farrow was married before she began her relationship with Allen.

One of the women Ronan Farrow interviewed for his New Yorker article was Sorvino, who won an Oscar for her performance in “Mighty Aphrodite,” a Weinstein-produced film that was directed by Allen. Allen’s role and Farrow’s family connection wasn’t mentioned in the article, however.

Farrow’s MSNBC program lasted only about 13 months, from early 2014 to 2015. However, he continues to report for NBC; in May, he was the lead reporter on an investigation into leaks at nuclear waste storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:04 am
by admin
Ronan Farrow on Harvey Weinstein Story: ‘I Was Threatened With a Lawsuit’
by Brian Steinberg @bristei Brian Steinberg
October 10, 2017



Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow didn’t break the first story of shocking allegations about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, but his New Yorker piece published Tuesday has added a new sordid dimension to the scandal. Farrow discussed his story Tuesday evening on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and there’s good reason: He started the story under NBC’s auspices.

Asked why the story ran in the New Yorker rather than on NBC, Farrow told Maddow, “You would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details.”

“I will say that over many years, many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so,” he continued. “There are now reports emerging about the kind of pressure news organizations have faced. That is real. And in the course of this reporting, I was threatened with a lawsuit personally by Mr. Weinstein.”

He also challenged NBC’s statement that the version of the story they saw wasn’t publishable. “I walked into the door at the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public,” he said. “Immediately the New Yorker recognized that and it was not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations at NBC that it was reportable.”

Farrow, who joined NBCUniversal in 2014 as a host on MSNBC, currently works as a freelancer for NBC News, and had been investigating sexual-harassment allegations against Weinstein for ten months. But when he brought early reporting on the subject to NBC News executives, “he didn’t have one accuser willing to go on the record or identify themselves,” according to one person familiar with the situation. The New Yorker story is”radically different” from the material that was brought to NBC News, this person said.

Another person familiar with the process, however, suggested Farrow did have strong material. This person said three women were named in Farrow’s reporting for NBC News. This person did not speculate as to why the story did not move forward at NBC News.

Farrow’s New Yorker piece includes harrowing descriptions of Weinstein’s behavior from women including Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino. Weinstein was fired by the board of the Weinstein Company on Sunday, in the wake of allegations revealed in the New York Times that he had been harassing women for many years.

Ronan Farrow, who is the son of Mia Farrow and is estranged from his father Woody Allen, has gone on record supporting his sister Dylan Farrow’s accusations of improper behavior by their father.

Farrow asked NBC News if he could bring his work to a print outlet, this person said, thinking that sources might be more willing to cooperate if they did not have to go on camera. NBC News agreed, according to the source, with the understanding that if he got the story published he would come back and talk about it for NBC outlets. But he’s also appearing elsewhere: Farrow is doing a segment with ABC News’ Juju Chang on tonight’s broadcast of ABC’s “Nightline.”

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:24 am
by admin
A Brief History of Harvey Weinstein's Relationship With the Democratic Party
by Ellie Shechet
10/06/17 4:13pm



Harvey Weinstein with Hillary Clinton in 2012. Image via Getty.

On Thursday, a bombshell story in the New York Times reported on decades’ worth of sexual harassment allegations against the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time,” actress Ashley Judd told the paper, “and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

On Thursday evening, New York’s Rebecca Traister published a chilling account of her own past experience with Weinstein, in which she claims Weinstein called her a “cunt” back in 2000, allegedly dragged her then-boyfriend in a headlock out of a party onto Sixth Avenue, managing mostly [to] avoid negative press coverage “despite the dozens of camera flashes that went off on that sidewalk that night.” She writes that reporters, including the late David Carr, tried in vain “for years” to write a story that the enormous legal, professional, and political apparatus around Weinstein made nearly impossible.

(In his rather odd and lengthy statement to the New York Times, Weinstein did not deny the facts of the piece, but his lawyer Lisa Bloom also said that that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.” After it was published he specifically denied Ashley Judd’s accusation and his lawyer, Charles Harder, announced plans to sue the paper. Harder was Hulk Hogan’s lawyer in a suit that was part of a successful campaign to bankrupt Gawker by billionaire Peter Thiel, and he is currently involved in litigation against this website.)

Since the early ’90s, around the same time as the earliest allegations featured in the NYT story, Weinstein has been a prominent donor to progressive causes, most notably the Democratic party. Weinstein and his money tend to pop up in articles mapping out the Democratic party’s ties to corporate interests and big donors. Despite its uneven lurch toward progressivism, the Democratic party’s ties to big donors remain considerable—if not necessarily comparable, organizationally, to the complex networks of a few radical billionaires that direct the conservative movement—and Weinstein has represented this special political class for some time as a reliable presence and sometime-host at the party’s most glittering fundraisers.

In a 1996 article in the New York Daily News, for example, Weinstein, then with Miramax Films, was noted as an example of a big “soft money” donor who was honored with an invitation to a White House state dinner. A longtime Clinton donor, he schmoozed with the Clintons at Martha’s Vineyard in 1997 and contributed, along with other Hollywood figures like Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg, to President Bill Clinton’s legal defense fund during Kenneth Starr’s investigation; over the years, he has supported Hillary Clinton’s successful Senate bid and both of her presidential campaigns, as well as Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and John Kerry’s in 2004. Gore’s campaign drew calls of hypocrisy for criticizing the increasing violence portrayed in films (my, how the world has changed) while enjoying support from Weinstein, whose Miramax studio distributed many of them.

“The centerpiece of the Gore-Lieberman remarks on the entertainment industry is that Hollywood may need to be regulated,” Ari Fleischer, then-spokesman for George W. Bush’s campaign, told the Washington Post a few months prior to the 2000 election. “Then one of the co-hosts of tomorrow’s event is the same person who perfected the art of selling to children things that shouldn’t be seen by children.”

According to campaign finance records, Weinstein began donating to the Democratic party in the early 1990s. He has personally donated to Democratic Senators including Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken, Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer, Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Leahy, Martin Heinrich, and Sheldon Whitehouse, though he also donated to the failed 2010 Nevada Senate campaign of Republican investment banker John Gregory Chachas. (Following the Times story, several Democrats hurriedly announced plans to give away Weinstein’s money.) According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he’s shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and has also donated to state Democratic parties; in total, his political donations amount to over $1.4 million.

While he was writing these checks, according to the New York Times report, he was also allegedly doing this:

In interviews, eight women described varying behavior by Mr. Weinstein: appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself. The women, typically in their early or middle 20s and hoping to get a toehold in the film industry, said he could switch course quickly — meetings and clipboards one moment, intimate comments the next. One woman advised a peer to wear a parka when summoned for duty as a layer of protection against unwelcome advances.

Xochitl Hinojosa, Communications Director of the Democratic National Committee responded to Jezebel’s questions about the allegations against Weinstein with the following statement:

The allegations in the New York Times report are deeply troubling. The Democratic party condemns all forms of sexual harassment and assault. We hope that Republicans will do the same as we mark one year since the release of a tape showing President Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women followed by more than a dozen women who came forward to detail similar experiences of assault and harassment.

The DNC will donate over $30,000 in contributions from Weinstein to EMILY’s List, Emerge America and Higher Heights because what we need is more women in power, not men like Trump who continue to show us that they lack respect for more than half of America.

Although the NYT report brought Weinstein’s treatment of women into the realm of open discussion, stories of his apparently odious behavior toward human beings in general—which he blamed, in a 2004 New York profile, on his blood-glucose levels—have long been available to the public, from allegedly fighting with an employee over a bowl of M&Ms and eating them off the floor, to allegedly harassing producer Syndey Pollack on his deathbed. Occasionally, reports showed this kind of behavior extending into the political sphere, where Weinstein was increasingly influential.

For example, a blistering profile of Weinstein for New York in 2001 by David Carr included a bizarre anecdote about Weinstein’s involvement in the 2001 New York City mayoral campaign. In a matter of days, Weinstein had switched from supporting Democratic frontrunner Mark Green to eventually victorious Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg, after Green reportedly dismissed Weinstein’s attempt to play peacemaker between Green and his primary opponent Fernando Ferrer. From New York:

“All I want to fucking do is fucking unite this fucking city, and you won’t let me!” Weinstein screamed, according to a Green source. With that, Weinstein called the Republican candidate and offered his support. “Bloomberg was willing to reach out to working-class communities Harvey relates to,” says a Miramax spokesperson.

A Green lieutenant saw it another way: “It’s what can happen when he doesn’t get his way,” the source says.

Several years later, in 2008, CNN reported that Weinstein, then supporting Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign against Barack Obama, threatened to cut off funding to congressional Democrats if then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t heed Clinton’s call to finance revotes in Florida and Michigan (Weinstein denied doing this). From CNN:

Another person familiar with the phone call said what might have upset Pelosi is that Weinstein also suggested that if Democratic leaders “did not fix” the Florida and Michigan problem, powerful Democrats may abandon the eventual party nominee in favor of Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, in November.

Pelosi refused, CNN reported, and Weinstein eventually got on the Obama train. During Obama’s 2012 campaign, Weinstein was noted as a top “bundler” from the entertainment industry as Hollywood money swept in to fill the donation gap left by a newly-regulated Wall Street. Shortly before that year’s election, Republicans were infuriated by news that the film Seal Team Six: the Raid on Osama bin Laden, premiering just days before the election, was tweaked by Weinstein himself to expand Obama’s role. Malia Obama interned for Weinstein this past spring, two years after Weinstein was publicly accused of groping Italian model Ambra Battilana.

(A quick aside here: the Times reported that this alleged incident ended in a settlement after Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. declined to press charges. Vance, a Democrat, allegedly received a $10,000 donation from Weinstein’s lawyer David Boies shortly afterwards. As you may recall, Vance was recently in the news after revelations that he dropped charges against Ivanka Trump and Don Jr. in 2012 after a visit from Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, a Vance donor. Vance denied wrongdoing in the latter case, and in the former, denied that David Boies was Weinstein’s lawyer in the 2015 investigation. Boies also denied ever speaking to Vance about Weinstein. Vance is currently running unopposed for reelection.)

This Letter of Engagement supersedes all prior agreements, written or otherwise, between the parties (including, in particular, the Letter of Engagement, dated October 24, 2014, between Black Cube and the Firm, acting on behalf of the Client (hereinafter “the Original LoE”) and the Client, whether written, oral or otherwise) and Black Cube acknowledges and agrees that it is not and will not be entitled to any fees (whether success fees or otherwise, whether pursuant paragraphs 16 through 18 of the Original LoE or otherwise) or costs under the Original LoE.

-- Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies: The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists, by Ronan Farrow

Up until the release of the Times report, Weinstein seems to have remained in the good graces of prominent Democrats. In July of this year, Page Six reported that Weinstein and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, had a private meeting with Sen. Kamala Harris, who, though a recent backer of Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care proposal, has attracted scrutiny from Sanders’ wing of the party for her record as California’s attorney general and for her ties to the donor class.

BuzzFeed reported on Thursday that Weinstein was helped in his effort to get out ahead of the Times story in a pro bono capacity by Anita Dunn, an Obama campaign staffer and former White House communications director. Dunn is currently managing director of D.C. PR firm SKDKnickerbocker, best known for its PR work on behalf of Democratic clients (and also Herbalife). According to BuzzFeed sources, former Bill Clinton special counsel Lanny Davis was also “central” to this PR push. Since his work for Clinton, Davis has written columns for The Hill, lobbied on behalf of human rights violators and sold passports to various Caribbean islands.

It’s disingenuous at best for Republicans to use Harvey Weinstein as a political talking point considering who lives in the White House right now, as the DNC’s Hinojosa points out, but that hasn’t stopped them; it’s likely that Weinstein will remain wedged into the conservative vernacular for some time, somewhere between #Benghazi and HER EMAILS. What gives this story particular political traction for the GOP, beyond the hypocrisy of a progressive donor and distributor of films like The Hunting Ground being called as a serial sexual harasser, is that it puts a rather hideous face on the entrenched donor system that continues to polarize the two wings of the Democratic party.

One could certainly argue that Weinstein’s money and influence over the Democratic party is nothing compared to that of the Kochs or the Mercers over the Republicans, and was simply the means to an end in a hopelessly corrupt political process. It will also no doubt be argued that none of the politicians or Democratic operatives who took Weinstein’s money had ever heard whispers of these allegations; but whether or not you believe professional political operatives fearful of being outspent by the Kochs and the Mercers were completely out of the loop on this “open secret” is up to you.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:42 pm
by admin
Sinatra's High Hopes Dashed by JFK
by Steven Lewis
(Adapted from His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra by Kitty Kelley, Bantam, 1986 and Sinatra: The Man and the Myth by Bill Adler, Signet, 1987 and Once Upon a Secret by Mimi Alford, Random House, 2012 and Marilyn Monroe A Biography by Donald Spoto, Cooper Square Press, 1993.)
Bing Crosby Internet Museum




In 1962 President Kennedy planned a weekend trip to Palm Springs, California, where he would stay at the residence of Frank Sinatra from March 24-26. As the weekend approached, Bobby Kennedy, the President's brother and attorney general, became concerned about Sinatra's extensive links to organized crime. He persuaded the President to cancel his stay with Sinatra, and Peter Lawford was given the assignment of informing Sinatra.

The Rat Pack

Lawford (to the right of Dean Martin in photo) was both a member of Sinatra's Rat Pack and a Kennedy relative by marriage. When Bobby asked Lawford to inform Sinatra of the President's change in plans, Peter pleaded with Bobby to reconsider. The attorney general was adamant, however, that the President could not stay at the house of a man who also played host to hoodlums.

Lawford told Sinatra biographer Kitty Kelley: "It fell to me to break the news to Frank, and I was frankly scared.
When I rang the President I said that Frank expected him to stay at the Sinatra compound, and anything less than his presence there was going to be tough to explain. It had been kind of a running joke with all of us in the family that Frank was building up his Palm Springs house for just such a trip by the President, adding cottages for Jack and the Secret Service, putting in 25 extra phone lines, installing enough cable to accommodate teletype facilities, plus a switchboard and building a heliport. He even erected a flagpole for the Presidential flag after he saw the one flying over the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport. No one asked Frank to do any of this, but he really expected his place to be the President's Western White House."

"When Jack called me, he said that as President he just couldn't stay at Frank's and sleep in the same bed that [Sam] Giancana or any other hood had slept in. 'You can handle it, Petah,' he said to me."

Lawford continued, "I made a few calls but in the end it was Chris Dumphy, a big Republican from Florida, who arranged everything at Bing Crosby's house for him. The Secret Service stayed next door at Jimmy Van Heusen's, and Frank didn't speak to him for weeks over that one, but I was the one who really took the brunt of it. He felt that I was responsible for setting Jack up to stay at Bing's -- Bing Crosby, of all people -- the other singer and a Republican to boot. Well, Frank never forgave me. He cut me off like that -- just like that."

Frank could not believe what Lawford told him: that the President was coming to Palm Springs but would stay at Bing Crosby's Rancho Mirage residence near Palm Springs because Bobby didn't want him to stay with Frank. Frank called the attorney general in Washington. Bob explained it was impossible for the President to stay at his house because of the disreputable people who had been his houseguests.

"Frank was livid," said Peter. "He called Bobby every name in the book, and then rang me up and reamed me out again. He was quite unreasonable, irrational, really. George Jacobs told me later that when he got off the phone, he went outside with a sledgehammer and started chopping up the concrete landing pad of his heliport. He was in a frenzy."

When the President arrived at the Crosby home, he called Sinatra to smooth things out and to invite him for a visit to Bing's place. Sinatra declined, saying he had to leave for Los Angeles.
After the conversation, the President told Lawford, "He's pretty upset, but I told him not to blame you because you didn't have anything to do with it. It was simply a matter of security. The Secret Service thought Crosby's place afforded better security."

Lawford told Kelley: "That's the excuse we used -- security -- and we blamed it all on the Secret Service. We'd worked it out beforehand, but Frank didn't buy that for a minute, and, with a couple of exceptions, he never spoke to me again. He cut me out of all the movies we were set to make together -- Robin and the 7 Hoods, 4 for Texas -- and turned Dean [Martin] and Sammy [Davis] and Joey [Bishop] against me as well."

Not only did Sinatra cut Lawford from his upcoming Rat Pack movies, he rubbed salt in his wounds by persuading Bing Crosby to play the role of Alan A. Dale intended for Lawford in Robin and the 7 Hoods!

The President used his stay at Bing's home to party with Hollywood celebrities. Bing was not present. Mimi Alford, a White House "intern" and presidential playmate, recalled the events in her 2012 book:

"The next day, we headed out to Bing Crosby's house in Palm Springs, where a large festive crowd -- many from the entertainment industry -- had gathered to greet President Kennedy. I felt like I'd been admitted into some wonderful, secret club.

But then the evening turned into a nightmare.

Crosby's house was a modern, sprawling single-story ranch in the desert, and the party was raucous. Compared to what I'd seen in Washington, this was another planet. There was a large group of people, a fast Hollywood crowd, hovering around the President, who was, as always, the center of attention. I was sitting next to him in the living room when a handful of yellow capsules -- most likely amyl nitrite, commonly known then as poppers -- was offered up by one of the guests. The President asked me if I wanted to try the drug, which stimulated the heart but also purportedly enhanced sex. I said no, but he just went ahead and popped the capsule and held it under my nose. (The President, with all his ailments, was accustomed to taking many medications and was reported to rely on amphetamines for energy. But he didn't use the drug himself that evening: I was the guinea pig.) Within minutes of inhaling the powder, my heart started racing and my hands began to tremble. This was a new sensation, and it frightened me. I panicked and ran crying from the room, praying that it would end soon, that I wasn't about to have a heart attack. Dave Powers, bless him, ran after me and escorted me to a quiet corner in the back of the house, where he sat with me for more than an hour until the effects of the drug wore off.

I didn't spend that night with President Kennedy. He was staying in a suite, now known as the Kennedy Wing, with its own private entrance on one side of the Crosby property. Was he alone? I do not know. For the first and only time since I met him, I was relieved not to see him -- and fell asleep in one of the guest rooms." (Alford, pages 80-81)

JFK did not use Alford to satisfy his sexual needs at the Crosby mansion because he had a bigger conquest in mind -- Marilyn Monroe, who was an overnight guest. According to Monroe's biographer Donald Spoto, Monroe called her personal masseur, the actor Ralph Roberts, from the same bedroom where JFK was staying at Crosby's house. Roberts, JFK and Monroe then had a brief conversation about the President's back problems. Spoto later interviewed the masseur, who said Monroe told him that weekend at the Crosby home was her only sexual contact with the president. (Spoto, pages 487-505)

President Kennedy stayed one more time, Sept. 28-29, 1963, at Bing's Palm Springs home, after which he phoned Bing to thank him for the use of his home. Less than 2 months later the President was murdered in Dallas, Texas.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:42 am
by admin
How Harvey Weinstein Survived His Midlife Crisis (For Now): A bitter struggle with Disney CEO Michael Eisner over Fahrenheit 9/11. Miramax teetering on the brink. A separation from his wife. A near breakup with his brother, Bob. And through it all, Weinstein seems calmer than ever. Why? He’s given up M&Ms.
by Seth Mnookin



"I’ll just reiterate this for the record.”

It’s 8:42 on a Wednesday morning, and Harvey Weinstein is beginning his first monologue of the day. About ten minutes earlier, he greeted me in the lobby of the Stanhope Park Hyatt on Fifth and 81st by saying, “Let’s get a room.” He pointed to the hotel’s half-filled first-floor dining room by way of explanation. “That way, you know what I mean, we’ll be able to talk without worrying,” he said in a voice at once hurried, even-toned, and surprisingly high-pitched.

Weinstein is talking with me in a sixth-floor suite at the Stanhope because both his life and his company are very much in transition. All summer, he’d been making preparations to leave Miramax, the film company he and his brother Bob founded in 1979 and sold to to Disney for about $70 million in 1993. For the last several years, he’s been in an escalating conflict with Michael Eisner, Disney’s thin-skinned, hypercontrolling CEO, a battle characterized by vicious off-the-record sniping and occasional barely hidden salvos; this past year, that conflict has erupted onto the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and both the New York and the Los Angeles Times, as Eisner publicly questioned Miramax’s profitability and Weinstein and Eisner fought bitterly over Miramax’s right to distribute Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Recently, Weinstein began meeting with Wall Street machers and independent financiers to discuss raising money—up to $1 billion a year—to fund a slate of movies as an independent producer. Under this scenario, Bob Weinstein would remain with Disney and continue to run Dimension Films, the hugely profitable genre division within Miramax that’s responsible for the Spy Kids, Scream, and Scary Movie franchises.

As summer stretched into fall and Bob and Harvey Weinstein plotted their futures, the rest of Miramax’s employees waited anxiously for word about their own fates. In August, the company laid off 65 employees, or about 13 percent of its workforce, an effort, according to a spokesman, to get staffing levels in line with a smaller release slate. In September, another 55 employees were canned. The mood at Miramax’s downtown headquarters was uncertain and grim as the remaining employees wondered why the Weinsteins weren’t even giving them a clue about what to expect.

The answer is, they’re not quite sure themselves. Indeed, over the summer, Harvey Weinstein’s life reached a turning point—what some might call a moment of crisis. The tough guy, infamous for putting reporters in headlocks and for public screaming fits, had become oddly vulnerable. He was thinking about what he would do for the rest of his life. Had Miramax run its course?

On this Wednesday morning, a healthy dusting of gray and brown stubble covers the lower half of Harvey Weinstein’s fleshy face. He’s been living in lower Manhattan as of late; Weinstein and his wife, Eve—who began work as his assistant in 1986—separated earlier this year.

Weinstein has with him a duffel bag and a metal briefcase he’s used since his days as a rock promoter in the seventies. HALLIBURTON is stamped on the top of the briefcase, near the handle—“It reminds me of this corrupt fucking administration, you know what I mean?” he says. He’s wearing a white dress shirt. A pair of black suspenders holds up his slacks, which these days have a little extra room around the waist. We’re sitting at a smallish table in a sixth-floor suite, Weinstein on one side, me on the other. Matthew Hiltzik, Weinstein’s quick-talking and long-suffering spokesman, and Emily Feingold, one of his four full-time New York–based assistants, get comfortable in easy chairs.

“The Fahrenheit 9/11 deal not getting done had only to do with trying to screw Bob and Harvey,” said a lawyer. “It’s bizarre.”

It takes Weinstein several minutes to settle in. First he sits down. Then he gets up to take off his blazer. Then he sits down again, but not before taking two soft packs of Vantage cigarettes out of his pocket and throwing them down on the table. He pulls out a cigarette and places it down on the table, too. He gets up, walks over to the bathroom, gets a glass, fills it with water, sits down, lights his cigarette, flicks some ash into the water, and starts to speak. I’ve barely said a word. The interview has begun.

But this morning’s most pressing topic isn’t Michael Eisner, or Miramax’s legacy, or even Weinstein’s own future. What Harvey Weinstein is so eager to get on the record—what he waits for me to turn on my tape recorder for—is his theory about the correlation between his blood-glucose levels and his infamous temper tantrums.

“You know, for years I used to read about myself. They’d say, ‘He has a temper’ or ‘He’s a bully’ or something like that, and it always bothered me,” Weinstein tells me. “You know, I always felt guilty about it. Somebody said, ‘The flower bill that is written by Harvey could have’—you know what I mean—‘because he needs so many apologies, could fund a small nation.’

“And, you know, Meryl Poster, my head of production and also a dear friend, sent me to anger-management specialists. Of course, they always ask me about my mother, Miriam. And the trick about Miriam is, my brother and I love her. She was widowed maybe 30, 40 years ago, so we grew up, you know, with Mom. She was incredibly supportive and tough on the both of us. She’s still, you know, the one person you, we have to toe the line with, you know.

“But I found out, and I just share this with everybody, is that the relationship to sugar in my body . . . There’s a . . . where my thing went from 50 to 250.

“What happened was, I was never an eater of breakfast or anything. In the morning, I used to just have a cup of coffee in the morning, went out to work, and then forget breakfast, sometimes lunch, and then make up for it with an overturned packet of plain M&M’s in my suit coat. And I would just eat M&M’s all day, sweets, you know, for what I thought was energy, which is not energy at all, now that I’m off of it. And what happened was the glucose level would go from 50 to 250 in my case. It’s not in everybody’s case. Some people handle sweets better.

“And I would hit the adrenaline. So that’s what caused these outbursts, you know. We had to find out through a specialized doctor. I had to go to a doctor. We found out I have adult-onset diabetes too as a result of this, so in the last year, I’ve lost 60 pounds eating a low-carbohydrate diet, you know, and exercise, and, um, in the last two, three years, as soon as I started to recognize the sugar thing, there have been no outbursts. There’s been no anything at all. Zero. There’s been nothing. Not a word to anybody.”

There’s a knock at the door: Breakfast has arrived. The Stanhope is out of soy milk, so Weinstein makes do with a splash of low-fat milk in his coffee. He extinguishes his cigarette in the water glass and then mutters to himself, “That’s disgusting.” His meal—an omelette—comes with a side of home fries, which he shovels onto a small plate and puts over by the television.

When talking with Weinstein, it’s important to remember that he’s both an expert showman and an inveterate story whore. He gets off on good narrative and becomes frustrated when the pieces don’t fit together the way they should. It’s part of what makes him such a successful studio executive. It also means that in real life, away from the celluloid screen, he’s not likely to let the messy realities of the world get in the way of a good anecdote. For instance: Max Weinstein died 28 years ago, when Bob and Harvey both were well into their twenties and no longer living at home. The Weinsteins didn’t “grow up, you know, with Mom.”

When it comes to Miramax’s legacy and the company’s relationship to Disney, Weinstein doesn’t feel the need to exaggerate; indeed, because of a clause in his contract that forbids him from discussing the company, he prefers to let others make his case for him. And despite Weinstein’s well-deserved reputation for being an ogre, for running roughshod over anyone who gets in his way, that case is pretty convincing. As more than one person has told me, Michael Eisner could be the one person in all of Hollywood who makes Harvey Weinstein seem sympathetic and likable.

“You know what I mean?”

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of the squabble between Weinstein and Eisner:

Harvey thinks Michael is a soulless, tasteless, lying prick.

Michael thinks Harvey is a profligate boor and a bully.

Weinstein has long found it hard to believe that Eisner, who can present as the bumbling savant responsible for Happy Days, was actually his boss. Eisner, in turn, hated having to put up with the scorn of the Queens-raised, coarse-mouthed Weinstein. But the two found a way to work together, because their relationship was so mutually profitable.

In the past few years, however, Eisner became convinced that Weinstein was more interested in making tent-pole movies, $70 million, $80 million, even $100 million features with high risk and comparatively low reward. There was Gangs of New York, Martin Scorsese’s 2002 epic. There was Cold Mountain, Anthony Minghella’s 2003 disappointment. As one studio exec put it, “When the cat shit gets bigger than the cat, time to get rid of the cat.”

“When we did the original Miramax deal, they had a formula that was very appealing,” says one movie executive. “Do these $10 million movies, and maybe on some you lost a little, and on some you made a whole lot. The Weinsteins became emboldened by their success. They had become a major studio disguised as an independent film company.”

A former Miramax exec puts a finer point on it: “Harvey Weinstein became like a drug addict trying to support his habit. In the end, he went native. He wanted to be another big player in Hollywood. He used to be a real outsider. And now he and Bob want to be let into the club.”

Even Harvey himself says he understands why Disney would want him to keep costs down. “I’ve had such a great track record in making a huge profit when the movies are smaller,” he says, gesturing animatedly in front of his couch in his Tribeca office. “But I also, you know, you want to grow with my artists. If Martin Scorsese wants to paint a canvas like Gangs of New York or Aviator, so be it. In five years, Gangs of New York will be totally profitable, if not sooner.”

A more important factor in the current standoff is probably Eisner’s personal dislike of the brothers. “Nobody at Disney ever gave these guys a chance,” says one former Disney executive. “The old studio system viewed them as pigs. It was more of a respect thing than anything else.”

As the nineties progressed, the company lost the various Disney executives that the Weinsteins had been able to work with: Disney president Frank Wells, who served as a lubricant between the Weinsteins and Eisner, died in a helicopter crash in 1994. That same year, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the man who brokered the initial deal between Miramax and Disney, left Disney after his own bitter dispute with Eisner. “When we made the deal, it was with Jeffrey, Frank Wells, and Michael Eisner,” Weinstein told me one morning in his office. “Bob and I never could have predicted that Frank would die and Jeffrey leave. We honest-to-God thought, Okay, here it is: Miramax will always be part of this company. I thought it would be a forever situation. And we still hope it can be.”

Weinstein—who, if you really press him, will admit he’s not an easy guy to work with—never exactly worked to fit into Disney’s culture. He’d snub Eisner in Oscar season, and he’s never been shy about either his opinions or his healthy sense of his own worth. Lately, after a decade or so as one of the most successful studio heads in the business, he began to yearn for a true empire of his own, the type where he didn’t need to worry about the stiffs in Burbank. He didn’t like thinking of himself as an employee, but every now and then Eisner made sure to remind him of his place. Weinstein began to be told he wasn’t allowed to smoke when he visited Disney’s Burbank headquarters. His astronomical expenses were questioned, with Disney sending increasingly belittling memos about the costs of hotel bills or airfare. (“When you’re talking about a creative process, and the potential profits from these kinds of enterprises, it makes no sense to argue with these guys about hotel rooms,” says Steve Rattner, a Weinstein friend.)

“Harvey was treated a bit like the dumb uncle in the attack,” says someone who knows both Eisner and Weinstein. “He’s been squeezed mercilessly. For what? Every single other one of [Disney’s] divisions, with the exception of ESPN, is doing horribly. Look at Hidalgo. Look at Home on the Range: $100 million flops. And they’re on Harvey about Gangs of New York or Cold Mountain?”

When came the epic dustup over Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. On May 12, 2003, a Disney executive sent Harvey Weinstein a letter saying, “You cannot release this movie.” Four days later, another letter was sent. This one outlined why Miramax would not be allowed to release the film—it was a “restrictive picture” under the Miramax-Disney contract, it was politically partisan, etc.—and instructed Miramax to divest itself of its interest in the project.

Weinstein, all sides agree, went ahead and funded the movie anyway. And, according to Disney, Weinstein hid the $6 million budget in other projects.
In this version, Eisner found out about Miramax’s continued involvement only when Weinstein casually mentioned that he’d like his boss to take a look at the film as the two men were strolling toward an elevator bank in Disney’s California headquarters.

The problem is, it’s not true. Costs associated with the movie weren’t hidden; indeed, quarterly budget reports sent from Miramax to Disney in 2003 include a line item for “FAHRENHEIT 911” complete with a film code (“M1621”), a date of first cost (“FY03 Q3”), and a tentative release date (“Oct-04”). Moore even said publicly the checks came from Burbank. (Disney never produced for me the reports where Fahrenheit 9/11 supposedly should have appeared but didn’t; a spokeswoman told me I was “naïve” and “in the tank” when I explained I’d need to see the reports myself.)

This level of acrimony is not all that rare when it comes to Miramax and Disney. But in May 2004, the dispute became glaringly, embarrassingly public. Disney, the New York Times reported, would under no circumstances permit Miramax to distribute the movie. Michael Moore, seeing a chance to gin up some free and sympathetic publicity, cried censorship. Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel, told the Times that Eisner had told him he didn’t want to endanger tax breaks Disney gets in Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor. (In another rhetorical sleight of hand, a Disney spokeswoman pointed to Emanuel’s comment as proof that Weinstein knew he was not “allowed” to fund Moore’s movie—while at the same time claiming Emanuel was lying about Eisner’s statement concerning Disney’s Florida tax breaks.)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Eisner, who isn’t particularly skilled at the public-relations game (see Katzenberg, Jeffrey, lawsuit with. See also Ovitz, Michael, compensation of), lost this round handily. Fahrenheit 9/11 won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; Disney sold the movie to the Weinsteins but told them Miramax wasn’t allowed to have anything to do with its distribution; the Weinsteins cut a deal with Lions Gate; and Moore’s $6 million movie went on to gross more than $100 million domestically.

“I have never seen the level of emotion that exists at the Disney Company,” says a lawyer who was involved in the negotiations. “It’s a huge public company that makes its decisions based on emotion. It’s bizarre. The Fahrenheit 9/11 deal not getting done had only to do with trying to screw Bob and Harvey.”

Curiously, as part of the complex agreement that was eventually brokered, the Weinsteins were not allowed to make any more money off the movie than they would have had Miramax distributed the movie on its own. Disney, after huffily insisting it wanted nothing to do with the project, would get the rest—although it also said that money would be donated to charity. (As of the last week in September, Disney had not designated a charity to receive its share of the windfall. When will that happen? “When it’s appropriate,” said a Disney spokeswoman. When will it be appropriate? “When we deem it’s appropriate. This is a ridiculous question.” Will the interest on the money also be donated to charity? “Are you serious? I can’t believe this. Are you serious?”)

By July, things had gotten so bad that Harvey Weinstein was telling anyone who’d listen that he’d likely be gone by the end of Oscar season, if not before. He thought the future would look something like this: Bob Weinstein would stay at Dimension Films. He’d get somewhere between $300 million and $350 million a year to work with. Disney executives, meanwhile, began telling reporters sotto voce that they heard that even Bob Weinstein was sick of Harvey, that Bob was pissed that he was the one who made all the money but got none of the credit, something Bob Weinstein vocally denies.

What, exactly, Harvey was planning on doing was unclear. He’s proud—immensely proud—of Miramax’s library, which includes movies like Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, and Chicago. It physically pained him to think about leaving it behind. (Since Miramax had been bought outright by Disney, it would retain the rights to all of Miramax’s back catalogue.) And he had begun to realize that, at age 52—the same age his father, Max, died of a heart attack—he didn’t want to spend the rest of his career fighting against executives he had a hard time respecting.

So Weinstein began to consider his options. Perhaps he’d start an independent production company. Perhaps something more nebulous: an umbrella concern designed to fund Weinstein’s interest in theater (he’d helped fund The Producers), literature (Miramax’s book division is the one profitable outshoot of the Talk-magazine debacle), sports (Weinstein is a hard-core Yankees fan and has speculated idly about one day buying the Mets), and politics.

But just when the future seemed all but written—just when Harvey was saying it seemed likely he’d leave the company, maybe even by the end of September—Disney insulted Bob Weinstein. The deal Disney put on the table for Bob, according to sources close to the Weinsteins, was so paltry—he stood to make less than half of what he is currently making, maybe as little as a quarter, and was offered virtually no back-end participation—that by the time Labor Day rolled around, the Weinstein brothers decided to stick together and fight it out.

“We’d like to continue,” says Bob Weinstein in between bites of a small Caesar salad he’s eating in a back room of the Tribeca Grill, which sits on the ground floor of the building that houses Miramax’s offices. While Harvey Weinstein relishes the spotlight and travels around the world to film festivals, Bob Weinstein prefers to stay in the background, nesting in New York. People who know the Weinsteins agree that the two men seem more united than they have been in years.

“We are brothers. We’re partners,” says Bob Weinstein. “We’re not separating in any fashion. It was never a separation, by the way. It was only a reconfiguration—we were willing to say okay in this byzantine kind of setup. It was never a situation where if I made $10 and Harvey made a dollar we were splitting down the middle no matter what. It was never like, ‘Oh, Bob’s running Dimension and Harvey’s running Miramax.’

“I’m proud of my brother. He has changed a lot of the rough edges, and people have noticed it. People in the press, maybe they want the old Harvey. They’re going, ‘What’s with the kinder, gentler Harvey?’ But Harvey actually took a little self-examination and said, ‘I could probably get the same things done and be less, uh, strict.’”

By September 10, when Michael Eisner announced he would step down as Disney’s CEO when his contract expires in 2006, the Weinsteins, whose own contracts with Disney run out next year, had decided on a course of action. Having all but given up on working out an acceptable deal with Eisner, the Weinsteins are now hoping Disney’s board of directors will step in and force Eisner to make a deal for one of Disney’s most successful units. After all, as virtually everyone associated with Miramax is fond of pointing out, Miramax has, most years, handily beaten Touchstone, Disney’s own live-action studio, both commercially and critically. Touchstone is currently promoting the disappointing Mr. 3000 and the dead-on-arrival The Last Shot, a movie the Times said was made “for no good reason at all.” Miramax will open the highly anticipated Finding Neverland in November, which stars Johnny Depp as J. M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. Come Oscar time, Neverland will likely compete with Miramax’s Aviator, Martin Scorsese’s biopic of Howard Hughes, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role.

Michael Eisner insists that Miramax’s past successes count for little; indeed, he says that the division hasn’t even been profitable for three of the past five years. And he’s been telling friends and associates he has no desire to deal with the Weinsteins anymore.

“I would predict that they will have to find their home someplace else,” says Bert Fields, the Hollywood lawyer who, along with David Boies, is working with the Weinsteins in their contract negotiations. “My own feeling is, in his heart of hearts, Michael Eisner has no intention of making a deal with the Weinsteins. In my personal opinion, for years he’s followed a program based on personal animus. And he’s going to fight against the conclusion of any type of deal.”

If that’s true, Disney could lose out on the services of a number of high-profile stars. “Those two dudes, they built their company from scratch, man,” says Kevin Smith, who signed a contract with Miramax after his 1994 hit Clerks. “I for one am glad they’re digging in and staying—that just means the world to me. Those dudes have been my role models. They’re very serious about what they do. Of course, it’s business, so they like to earn a buck. But they’re dedicated to forwarding American film and cinema.

“Without Harvey and Bob, there’s no Pulp Fiction. Quentin is still working in a video store. Truly Madly Deeply is Anthony Minghella’s best-known film. And Robert Rodriguez is stuck making mariachi flicks at Columbia.”

Back in 2002, when Disney began to grumble about Miramax’s bigger-budget projects, the Weinsteins approached Wall Street financiers and investment banks and inquired about setting up an alternate line of funding. Goldman Sachs offered the Weinsteins $500 million in capital, enough money to help fund a three-year slate of films. The debt was so cheap, according to a Goldman banker, it would have been cheaper than Disney’s own cost of capital. But Disney wouldn’t let them do it.

“If Harvey left Disney tomorrow and he wanted to raise a billion dollars in equity, me and every other banker on Wall Street would jump to do it,” says a Goldman executive. “If you look at all of the historical returns of all of the major studios over the past seven years, Miramax is in the top two.”

That, at least according to Bert Fields, isn’t going to matter. “In my opinion, Michael Eisner has followed a policy of vindictive, punitive actions toward Bob and Harvey. He has created this terrible feeling of rancor and bitterness.” So, will Bob and Harvey end up elsewhere? “I would think they’d consider all their options,” Fields says. “They could raise a sizable amount of money on their own, but look: Time Warner would work very nicely. They could fit in very nicely at the corporate culture at Fox. Murdoch’s a guy who appreciates profit. So’s Dick Parsons. They could fit in at the new, expanded Sony.”

That, says Fields, wouldn’t be the Weinsteins’ first choice. “For some time, the Weinsteins have been pressing to bring their position before the board. They offered to buy Miramax back at any reasonable price and pleaded with Eisner to bring that to the board. So far as we know, that never happened.” Indeed, Eisner has told friends that if Miramax were valued at $2 billion, he wouldn’t sell it back to the Weinsteins for anything less than $3 billion.

Even if the Weinsteins end up leaving the company whose name is a blending of Miriam and Max, the Weinsteins’ parents, they likely won’t be short on options. “We know this company well,” says Pete Petersen, the chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone Group. “There’s no question in my mind they can finance a new business if that’s what they decide to do.”

Eisner, meanwhile, has to be thinking about his own mixed legacy. He unquestionably rescued the moribund Disney after taking it over in 1984—at the time, Disney’s market cap was $2.8 billion. Today it’s $58.4 billion. But for the past decade, Disney’s stock has often struggled. Attendance at the company’s theme parks is down, ABC is so mired in third place that it has seemingly found a permanent identity as the worst-performing network. This past March, Disney stripped Eisner of his chairmanship after 45 percent of shareholders delivered a stunning vote of no-confidence.

Back at the Stanhope, Weinstein is finishing up breakfast. He’s obviously pleased with the changes he says he’s been able to make in his behavior. Indeed, as he’s fond of pointing out, it’s been over two years since his last public explosion, a March 4, 2002, incident that was recounted in Peter Biskind’s book Down and Dirty Pictures. The occasion was a test screening of Julie Taymor’s film Frida at the Lincoln Square Theater at 68th and Broadway. The film tested well. Standing in the lobby after the audience had filed out, Weinstein asked Taymor what she thought of the audience’s response. “They enjoyed the movie,” Taymor said. “The film succeeded.”

This, apparently, was not the response Weinstein was looking for. “You are the most arrogant person I have ever met!” Weinstein screamed, spittle flying out of his mouth. “Go market the fucking film yourself!” Weinstein turned to Taymor’s agent, Bart Walker, and told him to “get the fuck out of here.” He then turned to Taymor’s companion, Elliott Goldenthal. “I don’t like the look on your face. Why don’t you defend your wife, so I can beat the shit out of you.” Finally, he turned to a group of Miramax executives and picked them off, one by one. “You’re fired. You’re fired. You’re fired. You’re fired.”

Incidents like that, Weinstein insists, are all in the past, simply the result of spiked glucose levels and poor nutrition.

“Now I’ll look at the movie and say, ‘This is boring,’ and instead of saying ‘You asshole, fix it,’ I would say, ‘All right, guys, this is boring. How are we going to fix it? How should we do this? Do you guys realize this is not moving the way it should?’ or ‘It doesn’t have the power of the scene’ or ‘That’s the wrong actor in a casting session.’

“And I find that I’ve been able to make the same points, but I just say it in a calmer way because I feel calmer. In other words, I don’t have that anger button. It doesn’t hit me. So I think so much of anger management might fortunately be related to one’s physical diet, and I began to preach it, which is odd for me, because I don’t preach anything except getting rid of George Bush, you know, which is my mantra.

“All that self-control stuff, I tried all that stuff from analysts. I went everywhere to these guys, every kind of anger-management, psychologist, psychiatrist. ‘Get rid of my temper, get rid of my temper.’ And there was only one guy who just said, ‘I don’t think this is related to, uh, issues. I think there has got to be something wrong.’

“My pop used to always take us—my dad would say, ‘All right guys, we had a tough day today’—we were only 10 years old—‘let’s go to the pizza place,’ because my dad was overweight, so we would read magazines and eat pizza at Angelo’s Pizza on Main Street, so that was the reward. Or we would go and have a chocolate egg cream with that, so it was always sweets-related. ’Cause Dad was overweight, and my relationship with sugar has been the worst relationship of my life, but now I’ve tamed it.

“Here’s the other thing, and it has never been said by me,” Weinstein says. “And I will go on the record with this.

“When Bob and I started Miramax, the idea that we always had was, first, it’s all about the love of movies, and taking the risk to do a good movie that no one would think possible is to bring quality to the industry. But on a business level, what I always said was, we will build Disney an asset. You almost have to compare Miramax to a real-estate company. You buy buildings; you don’t get the money back on the buildings right away. But pretty soon you turn around and you have 100 buildings and that’s what building a 660-some library is.”

Weinstein looked at his watch, signaled to Emily Feingold, and popped up out of his chair. “We have to go.” As he gathers up his stuff, Weinstein talked eagerly about Aviator, which he would screen that night for a handful of Miramax executives. He opens the door and turns to face Hiltzik.

“You working on those fucking Kerry spots? I want to see those spots.” Hiltzik, who took time off from Miramax to work for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, has been doing some volunteer work for Kerry. He explains to Weinstein that he’s almost done.

For an instant, the old Harvey seems about to burst in. “You have time to read that fucking Joe Namath book but you don’t have time to do this?” Weinstein says to Hiltzik, an edge in his voice. “This is your country. This is the future of your country we’re talking about, you know?”

It’s a habit, a performance he’s done many times. But change is possible. Weinstein turns, looks at me, and stops.

“Let’s just do it. Okay? Okay. Good-bye.”

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:47 am
by admin
How Alabama’s ‘Luv Guv’ Broke New Ground in a Scandal-Plagued State: Naughty texts and burner phones shamed Republican Governor Robert Bentley. A vindictive coverup helped bring him down.
by Eric Velasco
April 10, 2017




Even after a year of titillating revelations, the release on Friday afternoon of the special investigator’s report on the affair between the 74-year-old governor and his much younger and still-married aide still had the capacity to amaze the most seasoned Alabamian political observers.

The bar was high after a tape came out last March of Robert Bentley, the one-time Sunday school teacher and dermatologist, on which the governor was heard awkwardly cooing into the phone to Rebekah Mason, his then 40-something senior political adviser:

“When I stand behind you and I put my arms around you and I put my hands on your breasts and I put my hands on you and pull you in real close, hey, I love that too.” That recording, made surreptitiously in 2014 by Bentley’s suspicious wife, was enough to give the unremarkable second-term Republican a burst of national notoriety as the “Luv Guv.” No small feat in the middle of a presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump.

But Friday’s 112-page report plus exhibits, commissioned by the Judiciary Committee of the state House of Representatives, was so chock full of gems it practically overwhelmed the state’s newspaper sites and political blogs, which brimmed with examples of the technologically inept governor’s forgetting to use his “Rebekah phone” instead of his government-issue device and more than once sending his wife, Dianne, text messages filigreed with rose emojis saying, “I love you, Rebekah.” There were even ready-for-prime-time memes: “Bless our hearts. And other parts.”

On Monday afternoon, the day the Judiciary Committee was to begin deliberations to decide whether to forward impeachment charges to the full House, Bentley was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on two misdemeanor charges involving his use of campaign funds. He was released and then resigned Monday evening. A plea deal, which has not been presented in court, calls for Bentley to never seek public office again, reported. He has been succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, who is the second female chief executive in state history. Lurleen Wallace, wife of multi-term segregationist governor George Wallace, was governor from 1967 until her death in 1968.

The governor, whose second term was scheduled to end in 2018, had until Monday adamantly denied ethics or criminal violations. According to news reports, Bentley on Monday afternoon pleaded guilty to the two counts, allegedly involving campaign funds to pay a legal bill for Mason and a loan he made to his campaign outside the permissible window of time.

Mason, a former Miss Alabama contestant, ex-television reporter and communications consultant, resigned last year. But her husband of nearly 20 years, Jon Mason, still has his job as director of Bentley’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Both accompanied Bentley to Trump’s inauguration in January. In recent days, leaders in the state House, Senate and Republican Party urged the governor to resign. But as recently as Friday, during a hastily called news conference on the steps of the state Capitol, Bentley repeated his vow he would not step down. With his head bowed, and as birds chirped in the background, Bentley warbled his dismay that people won’t quit exposing “the intimate and embarrassing details of my personal life, my personal struggles. ... I really don’t understand why they want to do that.”

But by Monday morning, rumors of a pending resignation were swirling anew, lending an air of unpredictability to a script of political malfeasance that in the past has tended to feature greed more than lust. This Southern Gothic tale—Baptist deacon turned legislator wins improbable election as conservative do-gooder only to reveal himself as unlikely lovestruck stud—has managed to surprise a state whose reputation for political corruption is exceeded only by its reputation as a college football powerhouse.

Indeed, Bentley is now the third top Alabama official in a year to be removed from office. Mike Hubbard, the former House speaker, was convicted in June and imprisoned for using his office for personal gain. In September, Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended for the rest of his term after he ordered state judges to ignore a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

What is it about Alabama? The concentration of power among a few—the Legislature, the university system, major utilities and a collection of influential businesses—provides a major explanation, said John Archibald, longtime columnist for the Birmingham News and, who has broken many of the revelations in the Bentley scandal. “Part of it is the century-long influence of what we would call the Big Mules,” Archibald said. “So much concentration of power just breeds corruption.”


It all started at church.

Rebekah and Jon Mason attended Sunday school classes Bentley taught at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa. Bentley, a dermatologist and nondescript state legislator, was considering a bid for governor. Rebekah Mason told Bentley he had no chance.

Before long, she was Bentley’s campaign spokeswoman. Mason helped hone his image as an honest alternative to the political corruption festering in Montgomery. After his 2010 victory, she became Bentley’s communications director, leaving the administration in mid-2013 to join his re-election campaign.

Around then, Dianne Bentley began noticing her once-devoted husband was no longer as affectionate. It didn’t ease her suspicions that Mason often stayed in the pool house at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery, rather than commute 100 miles to her family’s home in Tuscaloosa.

In February 2014, the now second-term governor and Mason were part of a state entourage attending the National Governors Association meeting in Washington. When the group went to dinner one night, Bentley and Mason kept exchanging texts in front of the first lady.

“I can’t take my eyes off of you,” one from the governor read, according to the investigator’s report.

During that trip to Washington, Bentley mistakenly thought Mason was knocking on his hotel-room door. Clad in boxer shorts, the spindly governor answered, only to encounter a hotel worker, not Mason, last week’s investigative report revealed.

It’s an image Alabamians can’t unsee.

On another occasion, Dianne Bentley received a text message from her husband. “I love you Rebekah,” it read, followed by a red-rose emoji.

The now-infamous telephone recording was made during a trip the Bentleys took to the Gulf Coast in March 2014. Dianne Bentley went for a walk on the beach, but she left her phone behind, set to record. A minute later, it captured the governor on his phone verbally groping Mason.

It was months before the governor realized his wife was reading his and Mason’s texts, which synched from his phone to a state-issue iPad Bentley had given his wife. By May 2015, Bentley and Mason were using disposable “burner” phones.

Staff members, who took to calling Mason “Flim Flam,” also noticed the governor and Mason spending long periods alone behind closed doors. Bentley had a habit of blocking out hours on his calendar with the word “Hold.” One staffer told the House investigator he had seen Mason leaving the governor’s office with tousled hair and adjusting her clothes.

Dianne Bentley and one of the couple’s sons confronted Bentley about the relationship. In May 2014, the governor sent his security chief, Ray Lewis, to break off Bentley’s relationship with Mason, but Bentley ultimately refused to dump her. He also tasked Lewis with tracking down the recording, which the security chief failed to do, according to the report.

When staff started gossiping, Bentley dispatched Lewis. “What happens in the governor’s office,” Lewis told them, “stays in the governor’s office.” But as the scandal wore on, Bentley developed his own vindictive streak, according to the report, warning his staff that people “bow to his throne.” He even threatened one of his wife’s staff members, whom he suspected of having distributed the infamous recording, that he would make sure she never worked in the state again. Someone even scrawled “Bitch Die” on her car windows.


It gets stranger.

The state House launched its impeachment process in April 2016. But days before November’s presidential election, then-state Attorney General Luther Strange asked legislators to hold off because of “related work” in his own office.

In February 2017, Bentley appointed Strange to the U.S. Senate to replace Jeff Sessions after his confirmation to President Trump’s Cabinet. Columnists and some state officials howled that it stank like swamp gas. Both Bentley and Strange deny any connection or deal.

Roughly two months later, Bentley was back on the hot seat.

He's not the first Alabama governor to leave office under a cloud. That distinction belongs to Guy Hunt, the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. He was automatically removed after his 1993 felony conviction on state charges he converted $200,000 from an inaugural fund for personal use. Hunt, who was not impeached, was fined and sentenced to probation.

Nor, in the unlikely event that the criminal allegations lead to prison time for Bentley, would he be the first Alabama governor behind bars.

Don Siegelman, a Democrat who was governor from 1999 to 2003, just got out of prison for his federal corruption conviction in 2006—a prosecution that became a national cause after Siegelman and supporters claimed it was politically motivated.

The state Ethics Commission initially alleged Bentley committed four felonies, each carrying maximum sentences of 20 years in prison and $20,000 fines. They include allegations he improperly used campaign funds to pay a legal bill for Mason and made a loan to his campaign outside the permissible window of time. Another concerns a 2015 trip that Bentley, Mason and others took on a state plane to the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas.

Word began spreading around Alabama that Bentley, Mason and others also attended a Celine Dion concert there. The RGA sent Bentley’s campaign fund a check for $11,640, which the fund used to reimburse the state. That donation was outside the permissible window for campaign contributions, the ethics commission alleges.

When he won his first election in 2010, emerging from the shadow of a nasty fight between the erstwhile favorites, Bentley generally was viewed as kind and genial, a devoted family man who had pledged he would not accept a dime to represent the people of Alabama. Seven years later, he’s generally viewed as both pathetic and vindictive. The investigative report details allegations he tried to intimidate subordinates to keep the affair secret. When Bentley perceived Lewis, his security chief, and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head Spencer Collier as threats, he fired them and launched smear campaigns, the report says. It turns out this wasn’t the smartest tactic Bentley could have employed for keeping his affair out of the public eye.

The day after he was fired on March 22, 2016, Collier called a news conference and confirmed the rumors about Bentley and Mason. A political blog released one of the Dianne Bentley’s recordings. By evening, the affair was national news. The Luv Guv was a comic punchline. The recording includes what might well be his political epitaph: “If we’re going to do what we did the other day we’re going to have to start locking the door.”

[Governor Robert Bentley] Today's Lesson: The Fifty Shades of Morality
-- by J.D. Crowe

This week we learned which side of the locked door Bentley will likely be on—the outside.

UPDATE: This story was changed to include breaking news.

Based in Birmingham, Al., Eric Velasco has been a freelancer since 2012, writing about judicial politics and other matters. He was a daily newspaper reporter for nearly 30 years, covering Alabama courts and judicial politics from 2005-2012. He is co-author of “The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12,” a biennial study of judicial campaign financing and influence published by Justice at Stake, the Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:52 am
by admin
The Emperor Miramaximus: Harvey Weinstein's empire is a place of beauty (Gwyneth Paltrow, The English Patient), of bullying ("These all suck, and you're morons for designing them"), of talent, bluster, muscle, and paranoia. He's definitely the largest (in all senses) cultural force in the city. But do his ends justify his means?
by David Carr
December 3, 2001



There are many busy, self-regarding people running around Madison Square Garden on the day before the Concert for New York benefit, but none as frantic as the multitasking behemoth trailing a posse of cell-phone-wielding functionaries.

Sound checks are taking place, featuring rock's most durable luminaries, but he has no time to listen. Someone from VH1 tells him that Elton John has agreed to donate the piano he's playing for the auction. Lorne Michaels stops by, followed by the Capitol Records executive who asks him to tell Paul McCartney to play MTV's Total Request Live, even though the former Beatle has no idea what the show is. The manager for the Who jokingly suggests he still owes the band money from his days as a concert impresario. Mick Jagger floats in, wearing a very rock ensemble of mostly lavender. Did he talk to Keith? A phone rings and a question comes up about the trailer for an upcoming movie. And then another phone rings and it's learned that although Nobu will provide sushi backstage, they plan on delivering it as opposed to making it on-site. Everything stops.

For the next 35 seconds, Harvey Weinstein is completely focused. "It's the Nobu presentation that makes it sooooo important," he all but coos into the phone, waving off the person who walks up to tell him that U2 is canceling for sure. "Think of it. Backstage. Movie stars. Your staff making food for some of the most important, glamorous people in the world. I know you're short of people, but it really is the presentation that is so winning. Okay. Good." He hangs up the phone and rejoins Jagger.

September 11 changed everything. well, almost everything. Before ground zero became ground zero, Harvey Weinstein was ground zero. And since the center has shifted, he has moved to reclaim a piece of it. While other people struggled to regain equilibrium, Weinstein got busy calling his shortlist of fabulousness to throw a fund-raiser. He got Sir Paul McCartney to say yes, along with a Blockbuster's worth of Hollywood stars. Now, 24 hours before the lights go up, he is brokering the end of the show, standing in a dressing room as McCartney strums a guitar while Jagger and Pete Townshend listen.

On the following night, Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein, along with John Sykes of VH1 and James Dolan of Cablevision, which owns the Garden, puts on a five-hour glamfest that includes a smashing performance by the Who, some speeches by smashed firefighters, and the junior senator from New York getting smashed flat by lusty boos from same. Some $30 million is raised for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, and all of it will go to victims of the attack since the Robin Hood foundation board members underwrote all the costs of the event. "I'm no fan of Harvey," says someone who works in the music business. "But there is no one else—no one—who could have pulled this off."

At the after-party at the Hudson Hotel, Weinstein sits at a long table. Sheryl Crow greets him with a squeeze; Harrison Ford stops by. Sitting next to his wife, Eve, Weinstein has three Diet Cokes on standby in front of him and a smile of accomplishment. Four months earlier, when I told Weinstein I wanted to write about him, he said it was a bad idea. "You'll get fifteen people to say I'm a genius and fifteen people to say I'm an asshole. What's the value of that?" Tonight, he looks over what he has wrought and decides there is a message in it for me: "I am not an asshole."

There's one spot left in Miramax's cramped waiting room on the fourth floor above the Tribeca Grill: a narrow space on a love seat next to Hilary Swank. She's sitting here because she wants to make a movie. I'm here to find out why people like her wait in line to work with Weinstein. She seems nice. I'd like to tell her that her performance in Boys Don't Cry was transcendent, but I offer her a stick of gum instead. She thanks me as I'm beckoned back to see Weinstein.

Like a lot of rooms Harvey Weinstein inhabits, his office at Miramax seems on the small, uncomfortable side. Not that Weinstein isn't friendly. On a day a few weeks before the planes hit the towers just south of his office, he's in a fabulous mood, taking a meeting about Shanghai, a World War II noir that's in development. Hossein Amini, Weinstein's favorite writer—"I know it will get me in trouble, but go ahead and say I said it," he says majestically—is there, along with Colin Vaines, a Miramax development executive.

Weinstein mentions that the protagonist—a broken-down loser who eventually stumbles across the truth—needs to have a job. "He should be a reporter," Weinstein says, giving me a collusive smile.

After stiffing me for months, Harvey Weinstein has been nothing but accommodating, showing me the love as only the padrone of the New York glitzocracy can. He's introduced me to Gwyneth Paltrow—"You're the first person I ever asked her to do this for"—arranged a sit-down with Martin Scorsese, and had his friend Nicole Kidman call. I'm in—kind of, temporarily, a member of the downtown tribe of Miramax.

The development meeting is a convivial scene, but in the midst of it I'm distracted by a Jackie Chan poster over Weinstein's shoulder: le poing de la vengeance. As I silently sound out the poster—Fist of Vengeance—he startles me into the present by proclaiming, "I'm back with a vengeance."

Despite an illness that took him out of the public eye for three months last year, he looks robust, sitting behind a desk in a blue sport shirt divided by a parallelogram of suspenders. The neck is inferred, not seen.

His coal-hued eyes make me uneasy. They reflect—if the dozens of stories I have heard are true—mayhem in abeyance. But his eyes can also spot Zeitgeist long before it comes over the hill. Which is why a city full of incandescent fabulousness pivots around a man who looks like nothing so much as a bean-bag chair with legs.

Like most titans, Harvey has a legendary sense of self, an annunciatory way of speaking and moving that suggests he knows he's a big deal. He wants to make it clear that his illness last year and his other hobbies may have pulled him out of his sweet spot, but he has returned to making a big deal out of small movies. We play cheery peekaboo around his hiatus—"I'm not going to tell you about the insanity thing," he har-hars—

"I'm back full-time with no diversions. I'm doing all the edgy stuff that I want to do, and I am fucking going to hit some out."

It's meant as a promise, a charming one at that, but like a lot of things that come flying out of his mouth, it sounds like a threat.

"You know what? It's good that I'm the fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town." Weinstein said that to Andrew Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Observer, when he took him out of a party in a headlock last November after there was a tussle for Goldman's tape recorder and someone got knocked in the head. Weinstein deputized himself and insisted that Goldman apologize. His hubris would be hilarious if he weren't able to back it up. Several paparazzi got pictures of the tussle, but Goldman bet me at the time that they would never see print.

I mailed him his dollar a week later. I'd talk to Goldman about it, except he now works for Talk magazine, which is half-owned by Miramax.

In the wiring diagram of New York, no one's juice approaches Weinstein's. He's got P. T. Barnum's DNA and Walt Disney's billions. Recall that on the night of the presidential election last November, Weinstein co-hosted a party for the Clintons at Elaine's that juxtaposed Stanley Crouch with Sigourney Weaver, Bill Bratton with Uma Thurman, and Michael Bloomberg with J.Lo. What other captain of industry or culture could create those dyads?

It's tough to get to the end of Weinstein's self-assigned centrality, as Democratic candidate Mark Green recently found out. The Friday before Election Day, he hosted a Democratic Unity dinner, with everyone from Bill Clinton to Jon Stewart on the bill. But some Democrats weren't buying. So three nights later, Weinstein was at the Four Seasons trying to engineer a cease-fire. Roberto Ramirez and Al Sharpton wanted people ousted from the Green campaign for what they believed were racist attacks. Weinstein suggested he'd hire a fired aide to work in the movie business with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. When Green declined, Weinstein tried to cast Bill Clinton as peacemaker, but when Clinton was driven by the Four Seasons and saw the phalanx of cameras, he felt set up. Clinton's car fled down 58th Street, cameras chasing its taillights.

"All I want to fucking do is fucking unite this fucking city, and you won't let me!" Weinstein screamed, according to a Green source. With that, Weinstein called the Republican candidate and offered his support. "Bloomberg was willing to reach out to working-class communities Harvey relates to," says a Miramax spokesperson.

A Green lieutenant saw it another way: "It's what can happen when he doesn't get his way," the source says.

Weinstein is often compared to the moguls of old—the doughty Jew among Wasp elites—but the analogies don't do justice to his broader cultural horsepower. Neither indie hustler nor studio boss, Weinstein is a different beast altogether, a New York City behemoth with avid fingers in all corners of the pie. He and his brother run a company that released more movies than any other in the U.S. in the year 2000 and had the eighth-largest box-office receipts. To say that the barbarian is at the gate is to miss the fact that he's already behind the velvet rope and iterating access.

Indie movies, once a quaint province of grad students and industry losers, became a cash machine for the Weinstein brothers. His competition credits him with nothing more than being a skanky bargain shopper backed by gobs of Disney's money. They suggest that after Disney paid $60 million for Miramax in 1993, Weinstein spent his time buying his way to the Oscar platform and getting in touch with his inner thug by screwing over far more delicate artistic sorts.

From Weinstein's perspective, it's spitballs against a battleship. Miramax—largely on the back of the genre films produced by his brother Bob's Dimension division—clocked a profit of $145 million in the fiscal year that ended in 2000. The profits have enabled his polymorphous interest in all forms of content. He now owns half of Talk; a piece of Jason Binn's celebrity flip books, including Gotham; a measure of The Producers; the burgeoning Talk-Miramax books division; a menu full of be-seen restaurants; and the attentiveness of both U.S. senators from New York.

Theoretically, Weinstein now possesses the capacity to send product up a single synergistic axis—the Talk-Miramax book is excerpted in Talk magazine and optioned for a movie, with an opening party at Man Ray attended by famous politicians who are featured in Gotham, before it becomes a hit on Broadway. That's the theory, anyway. So far, synergy just means that movie profits are funding a variety of other endeavors.

In becoming a producer of all forms of content, Weinstein has performed jujitsu on the assimilative process. While his antecedent moguls madly strove to become remade Wasps when they traveled to Hollywood, Weinstein believes the world should curve to him. After a decade on the A-list, he is still an unreconstructed Jew from Queens who wears power like a giant pinky ring.

With his wife, Eve, the 49-year-old Weinstein is the father of two young girls. He has houses in Manhattan and Martha's Vineyard and no substantial hobbies beyond running a company that company officials say kicked up $800 million in all of its businesses last year.

His ability to pick winners has allowed Weinstein to do business with Disney without wearing the mouse ears.

"The reason that we've been left alone was because our success was so overwhelming that if they didn't leave us alone, we wouldn't do it," Weinstein says plainly.

His dearest friends admit he can be a tyrant, and one of his many enemies recommends Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as required reading. He's been known to tear marketing posters in half while explaining that "these all suck and you guys are morons for coming up with them." Sometimes he seems to rant just to stay in shape.

In 1996, The English Patient won Best Picture, setting off a delirious celebration at the Mondrian among the Miramax folks, many of whom had worked 24/7 to push the movie over the top. "We worked for five days straight, we were really busy, and finished by throwing this huge party," recalls someone involved in the effort. "Finally, at five in the morning, four or five publicity assistants were sitting in the lobby exhausted with our shoes off and Harvey came through and said, 'Don't you people ever fucking do anything?!' "

But all the legendary bad behavior cannot obscure an objective fact: Harvey Weinstein is a cultural good. Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, and Shakespeare in Love have all become a part of the national narrative, framing the way people dance, talk, and fight. More people see more good films because Harvey and his brother Bob left Buffalo to taste-make for the snootiest moviegoers on the planet. Unlike his precursors in moguldom, Weinstein has exquisite sensibilities, an ability to be just enough ahead of the curve to make edginess and transgression sell. But just when you cozy up to his soft spot for tiny French movies, you notice that his M.O. is more like that of one of the cartoonish bad guys in an action movie. Like the titans he emulates without admitting as much, he chooses ends over means, and God help you if you happen to be standing between him and something he wants.

"Is this man a son of a bitch? Yes," says someone who worked closely with Weinstein. "Does he make fantastic movies? Yes. Is he willing to do whatever it takes to win? Yes. Is he unbelievably hard on staff? Yes. He has a hungry, massive ego that cannot be sated. I don't know what he is making up for, but he wants everything. I think that for all his dysfunction . . . his brilliance intoxicates people."

Weinstein pleads guilty to being a son of a bitch but says he's in recovery.

"I used to blow my stack, the first five years in Miramax. I was a complete, you know, moron," he says. "I've gotten better and better and better. But there are still moments . . . I always rationalize it and say it's the insanity of the industry, the tension of day, but . . ."

Harvey makes nice to his staff in the meetings at which I'm present. But after saying good-bye one afternoon, I glance over in the direction of his office. He has a phone jammed to his ear and is summoning his assistant with explosive, thunderous snaps of his meaty fingers.

The Weinstein brothers' show began during their college years in Buffalo, where Bob renovated the dilapidated Century Theater and booked concert films while Harvey hustled as a concert promoter.

Patrick Lyons, who owns a string of restaurants and nightclubs in Boston, was running a nightclub in Buffalo in the seventies when he caught Weinstein, whom he described—really—as a "tall, thin, handsome man" putting flyers on cars in his own clubs' lot for a competing show.

"I collared him and explained that he couldn't do that, but he could talk a hungry dog off a meat bone," Lyons recalls. "We ended up doing business together."

In 1979, the brothers moved to New York, stumbling along on the edges of the movie industry, a business they were just learning. They got a huge bump from the timely purchase of the concert film The Secret Policeman's Ball, produced a number of small films through most of the eighties, obtained timely funding with the success of sex, lies, and videotape, and went on steroids after The Crying Game and Pulp Fiction. Largely on the surprising success of the genre division—Dimension did $350 million in box office in 2000 while Miramax did $157 million—Miramax is a major studio. No one knows the tendencies of the academy better than Miramax—in just two decades, it's had 42 wins and 159 nominations.

But Weinstein is finding that making a living as a cultural outrider is complicated when you know the Man on a first-name basis. The little indie that could now confronts a problem of scale. Dogma, a cherished project from Miramax franchisee Kevin Smith, was kicked to the curb fairly quickly when the Catholic community was not amused by the prospect of its release.

Remember that Weinstein was an enthusiastic supporter of the Gore-Lieberman ticket. Actor-director Tim Blake Nelson had the misfortune of delivering M O, a bloody, teen-inflected update of Othello, at the same time as Columbine and right in the middle of the campaign. According to a now-sealed complaint filed by the producers of O against Miramax, Eric Gitter, one of the producers, met with Weinstein in the Peninsula Hotel in March 2001. "Harvey Weinstein overtly threatened plaintiff that unless plaintiff agreed to allow Miramax to assign the Film to a third-party for release . . . he and his brother, Robert Weinstein, would see to it that the Film was released on 1000 poorly venued screens at inopportune times with no public relations support," it states. The suit has since been settled.

Shortly after beginning work on this profile, I stumble across a trip wire that fires conspiracy and fomentation. Something in his unalloyed nature brings out the storyteller in people, as long as no name is attached. It's all sex, lies, but no videotape.

>"Are you on a land line?" says one.

"Has he threatened you? Offered you a book?" says another.

"I love talking with Harvey," says one reporter. "He knows movies. But at the same time, there's always this concern that he really does throw babies in the pond."

Another reporter insists that Miramax put a tail on the whole time they worked on a story about Miramax.

"He is a diabolical personality combined with a relentless drive and an understanding of mass appeal," says a director of small movies. "With that combination, the danger becomes enormous and limitless."

Not all of it is table talk on steroids. Throughout the story process, Weinstein seems to have near-perfect visibility into my notebook, ticking off a list of people I've talked to and what we talked about and then taking pleasure as my eyes widen. Sources, some of whom whisper heinous things about Weinstein, turn around and drop a dime to Miramax, seeking a measure of inoculation. When a leak has occurred, the company has been known to go through e-mail, and the offender is warned.

As the keeper of star-making machinery, Weinstein has re-engineered the media process so that he lives beyond its downsides. His other assets—a book-publishing company and a working knowledge of the frailties of most reporters—mean that when Weinstein acts like a numbskull at Cannes, he gets a pass.

A. J. Benza, who held Weinstein harmless when he was a gossip at the Daily News, has a book on Talk-Miramax that will become a movie. Liz Smith calls him the Irving Thalberg of our age, and Weinstein reciprocates by giving her a steady taste of star quotage. Rush and Molloy can't blurb one of his actors without mentioning how "critically acclaimed" his last project was.

"He owns you guys, all of you," bitches one West Coast film executive. "All media is controlled out of New York, and he is the king. He has the kind of Teflon none of us can understand."

Having had my own torturous negotiations with Weinstein, I've gained an understanding of his ability to maintain custody of his image.

"There is one story that needs to be told about this guy, and you are not going to tell it," hisses a New York film executive. "You're going to write another story about this amazing indie genius, and if you think I am going to participate in the lionization of that fat fuck for even a second, you are out of your mind."

Weinstein buries me in star power and testimonials, making sure that I know he's possessed of a broad streak of altruism. As I'm walking through the Village one day, my cell phone rings. It's Paul Newman, calling to tell me that when he mentioned to Weinstein that the kids at his Hole in the Wall Gang camp needed a gymnasium, Weinstein agreed to pay for it without asking how much it would cost.

When Nicole Kidman calls and says that Weinstein paid attention to her "back when I was just Tom Cruise's girlfriend," it's going into the story, as is her observation that "I like that he gets down in the trenches. He thinks nothing of flying to London for dinner and trying to talk you into a role."

His loyalty prompts reciprocation. When Talk magazine launched, pal Gwyneth Paltrow ended up posing in S&M garb that didn't fit either her career arc or any of her personal needs. Paltrow says that "there were certain favors that he asked me to do that I felt were not exploitive but not necessarily as great for me as they were for him. I brought this to his attention, and he said, 'I will never do that again.' And he's been true to his word.

"I think that for every bad story you hear about Harvey, there are three great ones," says Paltrow. "People are complicated, and nobody's all good or all bad. And I think Harvey is a prime example of somebody who has a temper and is also incredibly loving . . . He's a human being, and all of his acts can be just sort of magnified. He's larger-than-life in every way, so his good qualities are maybe more pronounced—as are some of his bad qualities."

'Any suggestion that we've lost our edge will be erased by the first five minutes of Gangs of New York," says Harvey Weinstein. "Make that the first fifteen minutes," says Scorsese, "although I'm not done editing it yet."

Gangs is Weinstein's spendy—it was budgeted at $90 million and has $11 million in overages—signal to the rest of the industry that he has the wherewithal to muscle his way back to the vanguard of American film. And Miramax sources point out that $70 million worth of international-distribution rights have already been sold.

The movie was scheduled to be out in time for Oscar consideration, but after the events of 9/11 it's now being aimed at Cannes, which takes place in mid-May. The movie jumps up and down on all of Weinstein's buttons: It's a statue-ready project (Helloooo, Best Cinematography) made by a legendary director on an Italian location depicting Weinstein's hometown, a place where immigrants used brute force to set their own place at the table.

"America," the trailer intones, "was born in the streets."

The romance of that line isn't lost on the grandson of an immigrant ("from the border of Poland and Russia") fishmonger on the Lower East Side, a neighborhood that was defined in the throwdowns depicted in Gangs.

"The only way that you could get this film made was through Harvey Weinstein's energy and contributions," says Scorsese in August.

While Weinstein and Scorsese may be hugging and mugging for the cameras, a source who worked on the set recalls a meeting between the two where a phone went flying through a window and out onto the piazza. Weinstein was not the guilty party. Asked about the meeting, Scorsese smiles wanly and begins talking about his relationships with phones.

"I really, really don't like phones. I don't like phones ringing. I get very irritable about cell phones and mobile phones," he says. "You could have had airborne phone over Taxi Driver, over New York, New York. Certainly Raging Bull."

When shooting was already under way, Scorsese decided he needed to build a church so he could shoot the Five Points neighborhood in the round. Weinstein balked for a time but eventually relented.

Although he categorically rejects analogies to the moguls of old—save the aesthete Irving Thalberg—Weinstein feels a need to reach back into industry history to put his outlay in perspective: "I built them the entire fucking place. I mean, I built two miles worth of sets, like in the days of MGM."

The movie is bloody and long, and, according to someone involved with the making of the film, Weinstein is pressuring Scorsese to come in with a shorter film. As a measure of his seriousness, Weinstein has ordered the sound and film crews to cease working on the movie. Gangs is far and away the biggest bet Miramax has ever made. "Amélie won't pay the interest on the money we're spending right now," said someone connected to the movie.

On the day this story went to press, Weinstein and Scorsese went tactical and called together to say that the reports were untrue. "I worship Marty, it's like going to film school . . . the final cut of the film belongs to him," Weinstein says.

"The person that I am fighting with over the length of the film is me, not Harvey," says Scorsese. "This is the most painful part of making a movie, cutting it down."

Given that it's Scorsese and Weinstein wrasslin' at the edge of the cliff, it's like trying to figure out whether Rodan or Godzilla will bite the dust when the credits roll. But many in the movie industry have a prurient issue in the process. Weinstein "has done so well for so long," says Variety editor Peter Bart, "that people would inevitably be delighted to see him eat it."

'You are talking about a case of arrested adolescence," says director James Ivory, who felt compelled to buy Merchant-Ivory's The Golden Bowl back from Miramax when Weinstein demanded changes based on a screening in Clifton, New Jersey. "He is a bully who feels that if he screams and yells and punishes you enough, he is going get his way," says Ivory. "And he has the adolescent appetites to go with it.

"He's both a genius and an asshole, and unfortunately those things seem to go together."

When I bring it up, Weinstein knows it's coming and emits a big sigh.

"They are great filmmakers," he says, sipping a Diet Coke in an empty dining room at the Rihga Royal. "But there's nobody outside the cocoon. The numbers are frightening, how badly the film did. They need another person—and it ain't me, because they don't trust me—that they listen to."

Merchant, who had a drama with Weinstein over Mr. & Mrs. Bridge ten years before, amazed himself when he linked arms with Miramax anew, only to have it turn out even worse. "The enthusiasm that he showed early on convinced us he would leave us alone. But he ended up wanting to dismember the film," he says. "I think he is a bully, he is uncouth, and he has no finesse whatsoever."

"He is a pushcart peddler who is more than happy to put his thumb on the scale when the old woman is buying meat," says producer Saul Zaentz. "He has no qualms about it."
Zaentz produced The English Patient, which won Best Picture for Miramax and did almost $80 million in business. But he's still waiting for the big payout; so far, he's seen $5 million.

"When I talked with him about it, he says, 'I am a filmmaker; I'm not an accountant,'" Zaentz recalls.

A grindingly magnanimous Weinstein understands completely: "He knows the math is right, because it's the Disney corporation, but if I were Saul, I'd be just as pissed off. I think that in a year or two, I might just do something about it."

Sydney Pollack, the longtime producer and actor who has happily done business with Weinstein, says Harvey hasn't mastered the art of being on top.

"I think that people are angry at his success. He is not a humble person. There is in Harvey a kind of confidence that people construe as arrogance. People want you to be a little humble about your success, and he doesn't do that," says Pollack.

Weinstein's tendency to physically menace people on occasion hasn't always helped matters. Jonathan Taplin met an enraged version of Weinstein at Sundance after he sold Shine to Fine Line. (Weinstein denies he ever laid a hand on him.)

"It was very unpleasant to have this guy strangle you in a restaurant, but I give him credit for being passionate enough about Shine to hunt me down and confront me," Taplin recalls. "He was totally out of control and had to be thrown out of the restaurant
, but you would have to put me down on the side of people who are passionate and crazy about movies."

Bingham Ray once ran October Films, one of a number of "the next Miramax" indies that didn't make it out of the nineties, and is now heading United Artists, the specialty-film unit of MGM. "What frustrates me is that they are still able through his craft and genius to spin Miramax as this little, small, underdog independent company when everybody and his uncle knows that this is a major studio," Ray says.

Tom Bernard, co-head of Sony Pictures Classics with Michael Barker and Marcie Bloom, who scored big with Crouching Tiger, credits Weinstein with buying film in bulk, nothing more: "The main goal is to market the brand, and he has forced the rest of the world to take out bigger ads to be recognized, profits be damned. He has made the cost of doing business catastrophic, and because of that, a lot of independents have gone out of business."

Weinstein points out that more small films are playing to big audiences than ever before. Listening to a litany of complaints from his competitors during a 90-minute interview at the Rihga Royal, Weinstein starts to smile. "It always reminds me of the scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly when the three banditos burst in on Eli Wallach and he's in the tub," he says, his eyes narrowing.

"He's got soapsuds on him and they come in," he says, hands beginning to float above the table. "So just imagine, Michael Barker, Tom Bernard, and Ismail Merchant, the three of them, they walk in and they see Eli Wallach and he's playing Tuco, he's the ugly. And they go, 'Tuco, you bastard,' in dubbed Italian. 'You killed the neighborhood, you shot up this guy, you got our gold, you got our this, you got our that, you got everything . . . You have to die. You will die now.' "

Weinstein pauses to make sure he has my full attention. The hands form pistols.

"And then they reach for their guns, but he comes out of the bathwater with the gun and he shoots all three of them and says, 'When you talk, you talk, when you shoot, you shoot,'" his revolver-shaped hands cracking off round after round.

"These guys are busy talking like old ladies about 'What is Harvey going to do? What is he going to do?' " he says. "While they are talking, I am shooting."

Harvey, as I've taken to calling him, is working Dave, as he's taken to calling me. I hate the name Dave, but I've never figured out a way to politely tell someone that. Stylistically, we aren't all that different—big, noisy guys who bully people into liking them or hating them. It's just that he can okay a $100 million film with a flick of the wrist and I type for a living, a business Weinstein knows well.

"Harvey is all about content, he responds to great content. He has a fantastic eye for things that are culturally interesting," Tina Brown says in a phone call. "He is very much of a polymath. He's Joseph Papp crossed with Max Perkins crossed with Samuel Goldwyn."

When the must-have editor got hitched to a marketing behemoth, everybody expected it would explode into a publishing juggernaut. But Talk magazine—which is owned in partnership with Hearst—all but capsized after a huge launch, beset by editorial cluelessness and a dearth of ads.

By his own admission, he's $40 million in, and Talk's second year is going off in the midst of a hellish storm of cratering ad spending, heinous distribution quandaries, and, as is always the case with Tina, costs beyond what had been hoped. The magazine has picked up editorial momentum, but it remains a long way from profitability.

"It's been a hard road for the magazine," he says. "I think it's making progress slow and steady."

Weinstein has been stunned by the costs, and he's not always pleased with the editorial execution. He took the reconfigured post–September 11 issue home, and, when his wife reportedly didn't think it properly reflected the gravitas of the time, the magazine was torn up at the eleventh hour for yet another redo.

According to someone who was asked if they'd be interested, Hearst is shopping their half of the magazine. Calls for comment from Hearst went unreturned, but sources at the company say that "everything is on the table" given the current publishing environment. Reports that publisher Ron Galotti was seen at Condé Nast, his old employer, were written off as social engagements, but sources at Condé Nast say that the company has made it clear it would love to have him back. Editors of other titles at Hearst are always bringing up Brown's party budget when they are asked to hack jobs at already lean titles. And it's hard to picture Disney—whose stock price has dropped from $35 a share to $20 in just the past six months—lining up for a bigger share of Talk.

Talk-Miramax Books has had the opposite trajectory, debuting to low expectations and growing in credibility with each passing book. It's one thing that Weinstein and Brown can agree on. The imprint's most recent get was a two-book deal from Rudy Giuliani, a Weinstein antagonist who nuked his effort with Robert De Niro to build a studio in Brooklyn. "You'd certainly have to put me in the top ten of public figures who have had fights with Rudy," says Weinstein. "But I think he's done a remarkable job for New York. Remarkable."

Before Giuliani became Saint Rudy, back in August, Weinstein was reportedly nickel-and-diming him about the $3 million, two-book contract. A source close to Giuliani says that the argument heated up and that threats flew on both sides. Giuliani reportedly felt that his contract seemed like small potatoes next to Hillary Clinton's $8 million, while Weinstein felt it was a lot of money to be paying to a washed-up mayor who only made headlines when his marriage came up.

Brad Grey, CEO of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, negotiated the deal on behalf of Giuliani and says that no such throwdown occurred. "I was involved in every element of the deal, and I don't recall any conversation that was basically relooking at the deal," he says.

Weinstein doesn't always have to be front and center to be happy in a business. He is a substantially silent partner in both his Broadway endeavors and the restaurants he's partnered in. "I think that theater fits very well with his metabolism," says Rocco Landesman, president of Jujamcyn, principal producer for The Producers. "You can go from a reading to a show within a year."

Both of the plays Weinstein put money on—the other was a revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing—came in. "I do think he has a warped view of the business, making the money back in six months," Landesman says, laughing.

Weinstein laughs at this, too, although not for the same reason. "Well, I'm a guy who's got ten Best Picture nominations in nine years," he says, dropping the humility like a used napkin. "Rocco might not quite understand who he's dealing with."

We're riding in from a screening in new Jersey in the back of a Mercedes. I'm not exactly drunk on Weinstein, but I'm feeling a little tipsy. Tonight, there's no Gwyneth, no Nicole, just a test screening of director Walter Hill's Undisputed, a palooka of a movie that's going nowhere big or fast. Hill had his fifteen minutes back when he made 48 Hrs. and has been mostly skidding his way through various genre flicks since. Undisputed will not change that trajectory, but Weinstein seems completely content to be out in Jersey finding a way to make this dog hunt.

"I think it's an amazing experience watching a movie with an audience . . . the laughter, inappropriate beats, the groaning, everything you can sense and feel," he says after we pile into the car for the trip back through the tunnel. "Irving Thalberg used to take movies out to Santa Barbara and test movies and have people fill out cards. Four hundred strangers in the dark are a lot more honest than your friends who are always telling you how great it is," he says.

It's plenty dark as we head back to the city. What scant light there is comes from the glow emanating from the commercial strip lining the highway. I like this guy, the one who schleps out to Jersey to see a crappy movie. I mention that it seems like pretty small potatoes for a big-deal movie guy.

"God, if I have dominion over New York, I don't understand how the days begin so early and end so late. That doesn't seem like a king's life to me . . . It's not like I'm going to Moomba or fucking Veruka every night. I mean, I don't go anywhere."

And just about the time I'm ready to hop into his lap and tell him what a misunderstood genius he is, the other Harvey shows up, dropping names left and right while excusing his own behavior on the grounds that he's surrounded by other maniacs.

"People say, 'Are you tough?' I say: Facing Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, you know, Steven Spielberg . . . Why the hell would you have to be tough in this industry to survive? Those guys are just a walk in the park? Martin Scorsese says never to use irony in interviews, but the basic concept is, people are tough in our industry."

We're in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel, and the car is instantly suffused with light. It's late, but his eyes are very much alive. It's beginning to feel a little tight in the back, even though it's a big-ass Benz.

"I'm preparing to direct a movie about the Warsaw Ghetto. About Jews killing fucking Germans in great numbers," he says with enthusiasm.

True to the cliché, what Weinstein would really like to do is direct. He plans to get behind the camera for Mila 18, Leon Uris's epic portrayal of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto who used guile and ruthlessness to attack much better-armed opponents. Scorsese and Spielberg may executive-produce. Look for Matt, Ben, Gwyneth, all his pals, to clear out their calendars. There's a line in the Weinstein-backed Producers that suggests "it's good to be king." It's even better to be Harvey Weinstein. Just ask Harvey.

"You know what happened?" he says. "The outsider came in—you know, he rode into town. And he sized up the town and said, 'You know what? This town is corrupt.' The studios are all in bed with each other . . . and some New Yorker comes in and levels the playing field."

Harvey Weinstein believes this. To be Harvey Weinstein, you may have to believe it.

I've parked my car in midtown, so we pull to a stop at a nondescript corner somewhere on Tenth Avenue near the tunnel outlet. We finish with a little man-on-man talk, off the record, no bullshit, just us guys. I shake his hand quickly, step out onto the street, and wonder which way to go.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:56 am
by admin
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer allegedly donated $10G to Manhattan DA who declined to pursue sexual assault charges in 2015
by Kate Feldman
New York Daily News
October 5, 2017, 7:52 PM



Shortly after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. declined to pursue sexual assault charges against Harvey Weinstein in 2015, the producer’s lawyer allegedly donated $10,000 to the DA’s office.

David Boies, Weinstein’s personal layer, dropped $10,000 in August 2015, according to the International Business Times.

Four months earlier, Vance’s office announced that Weinstein would face no charges after being accused of groping a young Italian model.

Ambra Battilana, then 22, claimed in March 2015 that she met Weinstein at the red-carpet premiere of his Radio City “New York Spring Spectacular.” He then invited her back to his Manhattan office to talk business, she said.

At that point, Battilana said, the married father-of-five groped her breasts and reached up her skirt.

“He asked if her breasts were real before touching them,” a police source told the Daily News at the time.

“She asked him to stop, and he put his hand up her skirt. He asked for a kiss; she responded ‘No.’”

The model reported the assault to NYPD that night and met with Assistant District Attorney Martha Bashford, chief of the DA’s Sex Crimes Unit, soon after.

In a call set up by NYPD between Weinstein and Battilana, the producer didn’t deny touching her, a source familiar with the recorded conversation told The News.

In early April, the case was dropped amid credibility issues; Battilana had lied to investigators about a sexual relationship with a 70-year-old man in Italy who paid her with jewelry, expensive tanning cream and a car.

“We are pleased this episode is behind us,” Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Weinstein, said at the time.

The news of Boies’ reported donation comes the same day as an explosive New York Times article filled with accusations from a host of women, including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, that Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances over multiple decades.

The “Gangs of New York” producer admitted that he had acted inappropriately.

A spokeswoman for Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., pictured, told the Daily News that David Boies did not represent Weinstein in the investigation. (ALEC TABAK/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go," Weinstein said in a statement.

In a statement to The News, Vance’s communications director said that Boies did not represent Weinstein in the Battilana investigation.

“This is false,” Joan Vollero said.

A spokeswoman for Boies told The News that the attorney was a supporter of Vance “long before 2015” and never spoke to the DA about Weinstein.

The news of Boies’ donation to the DA’s office also comes just days after Vance returned a $31,000 contribution from President Trump’s attorney made in 2013 after the DA passed on prosecuting Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. for allegedly duping prospective buyers in a failed Manhattan project called Trump Soho.

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:35 am
by admin
The Life of the Party
by admin: Jason
5/15/2006, 3:42 p.m.



It's just before midnight, and the hordes are filing into the Ultra 88 nightclub above the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The party is just beginning to lift off, and bartenders are working furiously to fuel the frenzy. Beneath a nexus of pulsating lights, stilettos slip on the sweat-greased dance floor, the mob bouncing to a hip-hop bass line like one huge organism with a thousand flailing limbs. Ultra 88 has never hosted such a fevered bash before. The club is brand new and fully loaded with add-ons. Secluded in the back, a room-sized bed for loungers sits surrounded by a curtain of gold lam>=, the kind of fabric you'd imagine Halle Berry slipping out of after Oscar night. High-rolling VIPs are milling in the private lounge, which features flat-screen TVs, butler service, and a bathroom for their exclusive use. Mostly velvet-red, the whole club is constructed like a high-end sports car, built for speed. And right now the speedometer needle's pinned. Celtics stars Antoine Walker and Walter McCarty are on the dance floor, working moves that make the basketball stuff look like hopscotch. Fashion guru Joseph Abboud mingles, dressed in a white suit, sans tie. Silver-screen producer Bobby Farrelly, half of the brother duo behind such films as There's Something about Mary and Kingpin, stands with cabernet in hand, talking about Stuck on You, the movie he has just wrapped up about a pair of Siamese twins. “Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear were literally joined at the hip for 58 days of shooting,” Farrelly is saying, chuckling almost sadistically.

Leaning up against the bar at the edge of this frenzy, quietly soaking it all in, stands a tall man with dark hair. He's older than the dance-floor crowd, dressed casually in a striped button-down and black-rimmed specs. He whispers something to a beautiful blond bartender, who promptly begins handing out shots of tequila to a small clique of well-dressed friends. The quiet man lifts a shot himself and tosses it back. All around him, smooth-talkers are working the night, unaware of the quiet man leaning on the bar. Unaware that the man is in fact the guy in charge, this party's host, Patrick Lyons, the biggest entertainment mogul in New England for the last two decades. Understated in garb and posture, the quiet man is in fact the life of the party, the man responsible for it all, the one some people like to call the king of clubs.

Patrick Lyons doesn't like it when he's called the king of clubs. “That's old news,” he says. “I'm way past that.” He also doesn't like publicity. At all. That's why most Bostonians have no idea what New England's preeminent entertainment czar looks like. Lyons doesn't like to be recognized. Though he spends his life hobnobbing with celebrities and rock stars, he doesn't wish to be one himself.
Over lunch in the Back Bay at Jasper White's Summer Shack (which he co-owns) inside the Kings bowling-and-nightclub complex (which he also owns) a few days before the big event at Ultra 88 (which he owns), Lyons, 48, is looking edgy in a wrinkled short-sleeve button-down, shades pulled back over his head, a two-day stubble riding his square jaw. His gaze is part businessman charming, part don't fuck with me. He is explaining why he doesn't like to have his picture taken or consent to interviews like this one, which took months to arrange. (Among other things, it required a promise to attend a pricey charity event he ran. Which is another thing about Patrick Lyons: He's all heart. More on that later.) “Personal publicity doesn't do me any good anymore,” he says. “I prefer anonymity.”

It's an odd thing to hear from such a high-profile figure, not to mention one who is in the restaurant and nightclub business. Then again, Lyons is already doing nicely, thank you. His privately held company, the Lyons Group, is attracting “north of $50 million” in business annually. And it's expanding rapidly in what seems the worst economic climate since the Hoover administration. Along with even lower-profile partner Ed Sparks (Lyons handles the creative and conceptual stuff, Sparks the finances and operation), Lyons now runs 25 restaurants, nightclubs, lounges, and bars. Places like the Big Easy, Harvard Gardens, Lucky's Lounge, the Paradise, and Sonsie, to name just a few. The company dominates Lansdowne Street, the hipster mecca behind Fenway's Green Monster, with joints like the Modern, Embassy, Avalon, Axis, Jake Ivory's Dueling Pianos, the Tiki Room, and Bill's Bar. Lyons has also consulted for the likes of billionaire Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn and Mel Simon, cochairman of the nation's biggest single shopping mall company. Then there's that little music-venue venture Lyons helped launch back in 1992 called House of Blues. The first was in Cambridge. Now there are eight across North America.

Make the mistake of asking Patrick Lyons what he's up to these days, and you'd better be prepared to hang out for a while. His reticence to talk is suddenly stripped away. In just the past 12 months, he'll tell you, he has opened Kings, the Tiki Room, two new Summer Shacks with Jasper White, and the nightlife complex at Mohegan Sun that includes not only Ultra 88 but a Las Vegas-style lounge dubbed Lucky's and an Irish pub, the Dubliner. “These places,” Lyons says, “will knock your fucking head in.” He isn't bragging. Patrick Lyons is on a manic mission. His goal: to keep himself from getting bored. He's spent decades hunting for the next buzz. And he's got the city of Boston in tow. “The most remarkable quality about Patrick,” says Stephen Mindich, a longtime Lyons friend and publisher of the Boston Phoenix, “is his ability to feel what is happening in his world, and to feel what is about to happen in the near future. If you're too far ahead, people won't understand where you're coming from. If you're too far behind, they won't care. You have to be right on the moment.” Still, long before this moment, long before the chi-chi eateries and the 2,000 full- and part-time employees, there was just the king of clubs, a streetwise kid who showed up in town, ready to play his hand.

Truth be told, Patrick Lyons was pretty much tricked into coming to Massachusetts. He arrived on a bus at the age of 23 with a couple years' experience working in nightclubs in his hometown of Buffalo, and later in Minneapolis and Detroit. He'd skipped college, finding a home working in discos instead. (Lyons inherited his service-trade genes from his one-time barmaid mom.) One day, his boss asked him if he'd be interested in opening a nightclub in Boston. “Actually, it's on Cape Cod,” the boss said. Boston? Cape Cod? Sounded exotic to a kid from Buffalo. But when he stepped off the bus, he learned the club — a 1,200-capacity disco called Uncle Sam's — was on Nantasket Beach in Hull. “It was a seaside honky-tonk,” he recalls. “The prospects were frightening. It was really bad.”

Still, even in a town like Hull, the '70s disco craze could make a cash register grow legs and do splits on a dance floor — if a club was marketed the right way. With the help of his brother John, Lyons made the place a success. He worked a stint in New York City before transferring to a local disco called Boston-Boston at 15 Lansdowne, the current location of Avalon — arguably Lyons's best-known venue now. (John Lyons is now part owner and director of operations for Avalon and Axis.) In 1981, along with Sparks, an accountant who provided the financial know-how, Lyons leveraged a buyout of Boston-Boston. The Lyons Group was born. But it was just the beginning. “Patrick's eyes have always been on sticks,” says John Spooner, a financial planner (and this magazine's finance columnist), who began early on advising the budding club king about what to do with his profits. “He has an endless curiosity and an ability to clue in to what is coming next.”

In 1979, Lyons opened another room off Boston-Boston, at the location that is now Axis. He tried to think of the grossest name he could come up with. Within weeks, Spit was the hottest nightclub in New England. “Pat hired a cadre of DJs who broke punk rock in Boston, including Oedipus,” now program director at WBCN, remembers photographer Steven Stone, who was hired to shoot pictures in the club in the early '80s. “It was a wild scene — hot, loud, sweaty. Lots of Spandex, bright rayon, mismatched shoes, artfully torn clothing.” To make the place different (and pump up profits), Lyons pioneered a new party scheme called “double-decking,” now all the rage in clubs worldwide. He'd have a band play a set, then jack the party up another notch with a DJ to keep the crowd turning over.

Boston-Boston became Metro, and its first act was a band called the Vapors, whose “Turning Japanese” was a hit on a fledgling MTV. The B-52s followed, then the Ramones. “Playing Patrick's clubs was like a personal party for me,” says legendary rocker Peter Wolf. “Everybody knew everybody, and I liked Patrick because he wasn't some big-shot money guy. He was a street kid like me, working his way up from the bottom. When my show was over, we'd have this after-hours get-together we called 'two-fingers.' Sometimes it was scotch, sometimes rum, sometimes bourbon.”

Back then, Lyons courted publicity. He pulled stunts, once smashing two cases of Stolichnaya (worth $144 at the time) to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — after calling both major dailies and all the local TV news stations. When he remodeled Spit's moldy bathrooms, he made an event out of it. Crooned the Phoenix at the time: “Spit, the club for punk rockers, has imported a stock of black toilets and urinals from Italy to put a punk punch into its unisex restrooms.” Lyons hired tuxedo-clad waiters to hand out Champagne in the new latrines. It was all a joke, and the king of clubs was laughing his ass off. “Of course I'm a hustler,” he told this magazine in 1980. “It's all a sport. I'm only going to be this age once, so I might as well enjoy it.”

As Lyons basked in the spotlight, partner Ed Sparks was working the back end. Unlike most nightclub/ service businesses (which, let's face it, are often run by flakes and sleazeballs), the Lyons Group hired top law and accounting firms. “We did everything in a professional manner,” Sparks says over lunch at Sonsie. “That's what enabled us to grow.” Disco and punk morphed into new wave and then grunge, and Lyons relaunched Spit and Metro as Axis and Avalon (after an incarnation as Citi). In 1982, he and Sparks bought the Paradise from Don Law.

Lyons reshaped his clubs, staying one step ahead of the times. “There aren't too many people in town who've been able to reinvent themselves over and over for 25 straight years,” Spooner says. On the stages where U2 and Madonna once played (“We paid Madonna a thousand bucks to play Spit,” Lyons remembers, laughing, “with her brother as a backup dancer”), the Lyons Group started hosting Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish — the hottest acts of each evolving era, before they hit the stadiums. “Patrick always had the ability to sniff out what was about to happen,” Phoenix publisher Mindich says. So where does that leave him now?

When you walk into the Lyons Group headquarters on Lansdowne Street, the first thing you see is a wall with all the logos of all the ventures that make up the entertainment empire. It's always been Patrick Lyons's strategy to hit every segment of the market. In the beginning there was disco and there was punk, and Lyons had a club for each crowd. Today, fine dining is the new disco, and yuppie lounges are the new punk. If you don't agree, you can still head over to Avalon or the Paradise on any given night and bang heads with some sweaty leather folk. Whatever you need, whoever you think you are, Lyons is serving up the good times.

It's a spectacularly effective strategy. There's Lansdowne for the college kids, the Alley for the Euros and the twentysomethings. It's notable that, just as he did in the '80s, Lyons is also supplying venues now to serve an audience of people around his own age. Wearing a Fendi red beret and matching G-string? You'll feel right at home noshing on focaccia at Sonsie on Newbury Street. Looking to cheat on your wife with a girl half your age? Try Lucky's Lounge in Southie. “Patrick shows people how to have fun,” says Jasper White, the Lyons Group's partner in the Summer Shack venture. (There are three Jasper White's Summer Shacks now, with plans to go national.) “His creativity, his insight into the marketplace — he's just really good at it.”

Most nights you can find Lyons in one of his places. Sometimes he pops up by surprise, finds a doorman or bartender who doesn't know who he is, and tests the service that way. Other times he entertains groups of friends, many of them celebrities, at one of his clubs or over dinner in one of his restaurants. While Lyons works the front end, his partner continues to handle operations. Says Sparks: “After Patrick plays with the Erector set, I come in and make sure the bills are paid, the money's in the bank, the payroll's taken care of. It's a great partnership.”

Not that there haven't been some failures, like the “notable bomb on Newbury Street,” as the Globe called the ill-fated restaurant Fynn's, and the Mama Kin nightclub debacle, a venture with Aerosmith that ended in tatters in 1999; Lansdowne Street may draw dance audiences and Eurokids, but it was tougher to lure people there to hear the local rock that Mama Kin was meant to spotlight, a problem that only worsened friction between Lyons and Aerosmith over the club's finances. (Part of the space became the Modern and the rest was used to expand Avalon.)

There are those who say that Kings, the 40,000-square-foot eating/drinking/bowling complex that opened in March in the Back Bay, is too big for its britches. Time will tell.

There's also a whole other side to this crazy business. The Lyons Group throws charity events. Big ones. If that sounds boring to you, you've never been to one. The Lyons Group runs some of the city's highest-profile events to raise money for some of the highest-profile charities, like those founded by Celtics stars Walker and McCarty, respectively. “He's a classy guy,” says McCarty, whose I Love Music Foundation for underprivileged kids was the beneficiary of a Lyons-sponsored party last year. “He's always everywhere, doing a lot for the community.”

The Lyons Group also throws the Urban Improv's Banned in Boston bash every year, in which politicians and celebrities act out comic stage plays to raise money for violence-prevention programs in inner-city schools. This year's event featured Governor Mitt Romney singing and Mayor Mumbles Menino reciting Shakespeare. (Get that: a nightclub owner and a mayor who actually get along.) It raised nearly half a million dollars.

At another event years back — one that included the best live show ever played in any of Lyons's clubs, according to Lyons himself — Prince took the stage at Avalon to benefit a scholarship named for a Berklee student who had been run over and killed while waiting in line for concert tickets on Mass. Ave. “We flew in his family and presented them with the scholarship,” Lyons recalls with his usual intensity. “Prince came on at 2 a.m. and played the first two songs in complete darkness. Then the lights came on and the place fucking roared!”

On this particular afternoon, Lyons is sitting in his cluttered office, behind a desk so messy it looks like someone just had a kidney removed on it. He's holding a cell phone to one ear and his desk phone to the other, planning a party that is less than two weeks away. There's a problem with the invitations: They've been printed with the wrong date. Or is it the right date? No one can seem to figure it out. He hangs up the phone and flashes that devilish grin. “This party's going to be a bomb,” he says. By that, he means very good. Even sitting at his desk in his office, the man's having a good time, and he's going to make sure that, when this particular party comes, hundreds of other people are going to be having a good time, too. Which is what seems to count.

What happens to Patrick Lyons after the party's over and the guests have gone home? He's wandering around Boston right now, wondering the same thing. By now, it's likely that he's read this story and is probably not happy about being called the king of clubs again. Okay, maybe he's not the king of clubs anymore. Lyons used to own Saturday night in this town. Now, with his restaurants and his consulting business and his lounges, he owns every night. He's the earl of entertainment, Dr. Feelgood, the baron of Boston after dark. He's the life of the party, a man on a manic hunt for that next buzz. When he finds it, you'll know. One by one, party by party, half of Boston will show up to eat it, drink it, roll it, have it surgically enhanced, or whatever it is that people will be doing in Boston next year and the next year, in the hours after the sun goes down. B