Livent Investors Win $23.3 Million Judgment

News   Livent Investors Win $23.3 Million Judgment The investors in Livent Inc., once the world's only public company exclusively devoted to the creation of new musicals, won a $23.3 million settlement in federal court last week, the New York Times reported.
Garth H. Drabinsky
Garth H. Drabinsky

The decision was handed down Feb. 4 in Federal District Court of Manhattan, settling a lawsuit filed by hundreds of investors in the company that produced Tony Award-winning shows in the 1990s, but crumbled due to accounting irregularities.

The company was led by Canadian producer Garth H. Drabinsky.

The Times reported that the 200 investors bought $125 million in corporate bonds offered in late 1997 by Livent. Within a year, Livent declared bankruptcy after news of massive accounting irregularities came to light.

American prosecutors and securities authorities accuse Drabinsky and his partner, Myron I. Gottlieb, of hiding losses and defrauding investors. The Canadian producers are fugitives and have not returned to the United States. They have said they are innocent of any wrongdoing.

According the CBC, the RCMP in Canada also charged Drabinky and Gottlieb with fraud. On Jan. 10, a Canadian judge began what was expected to be a three-month review of evidence to see if the case should go to trial. In its brief heyday, Livent — run by creative monomaniac Drabinsky, whose vision was respected by many in the industry — was responsible for the creation of such 1990s shows as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, Show Boat, Parade, Candide and the non-musical Barrymore. Seeds sown by Drabinsky that took root after the company wilted include Fosse and Seussical the Musical. Livent shows or artists earned 19 Tony Awards over the years, according to the CBC.

Livent was also responsible for restoring historic theatres throughout North America, creating homes for its touring product. On Broadway, Livent helped create the Ford Center for the Performing Arts using landmark elements of two Broadway houses on 42nd Street — the Lyric and the Apollo. The theatre is now called The Hilton Theatre, after the hotel chain.

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