Brinkley accepted the money in 2001 with the understanding that it would be used to produce a play written by Annie Reiner, Carl's daughter. Instead, said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, she put the money into Hedwig. When the Reiners and Shapiro filed a complaint, the office of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer arranged a settlement in which Brinkley was to repay the trio and accept a lifetime ban on optioning new theatre projects. However, argued Morgenthau, Brinkley proceeded to repay the debt by stealing money from the nonprofit Ensemble Studio Theater, where she served as executive director. As part of the current deal, Brinkley will make full restitution and serve five years' probation. She already has repaid $8,000, according to officials.
Brinkley was artistic director of the Off-Broadway troupe Alice's Fourth Floor from 1990 to 1996. After that, she was producing director of the Cherry Lane Theatre for two years. Also a director, she's staged such works as John Belluso's Gretty Good Time at EST.