Report alleges Weinstein funnelled funds from AIDS charity
A report has revealed that disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein allegedly funneled money donated for AIDS research to another charity in order to avoid financial losses on a theatre production.
According to a Huffington Post investigation, a “highly unusual financial transaction” took place involving Weinstein and American Foundation for AIDS Research’s non-executive chair Kenneth Cole.
In order for Weinstein to stage a production of Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theater, the theatre had an “arrangement whereby it would reimburse Weinstein and other show investors for money they put into the trial run, provided the investors got third parties to donate the amounts.”
But in order for the reimbursement amount to be met, the theatre had one condition: the amount needed to be in the theatre’s bank account by 1 June or Weinstein would lose $600,000.
In a bid to raise the funds, Weinstein asked American Foundation for AIDS Research, known as AMFAR, to split the funds made in a charity auction if he donated some prizes to the foundation’s non-executive chair, Kenneth Cole.
The prizes in question, however, were donated for free, and the bidders were not aware that half of the funds made would be going to the theatre.
However, the auction did not go as well as expected, and rather than making the estimated $1.2 million to make a 50/50 split, it made $900,000.
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And rather than the pair splitting the profits, Weinstein still took $600,000.
When an investigation into Cole’s and Weinstein’s conduct by on behalf of the charity came to light, Weinstein allegedly offered to donate a $1 million donation over a five year period to the charity, under the agreement that “all the board members sign the non-disclosure agreement.”
Under another proviso, Weinstein would donate the funds only if Cole remained non-executive chairman of amfAR.
“Over the last several weeks Weinstein’s charitable role in supporting amfAR has become the subject of debate and scrutiny,” said Cole.
“After the New York Attorney General’s Office reviewed the transaction between amfAR and Weinstein they declined to pursue an investigation. It did, however, highlight opportunities to strengthen the governance of the organization.”
I” am personally committed to implementing the OAG’s recommendations to ensure that our fundraising policies and procedures are never called into question again. The mission is too important, there remain millions of lives at risk and the work is far from finished to allow any of us to be distracted from the task of conquering HIV/AIDS,” he added in a statement.