Former Rebecca Press Agent Files Countersuit Against Producers
By Adam Hetrick
Broadway press agent Marc Thibodeau has filed a countersuit against the producers of the much-delayed Broadway musical Rebecca, according to Bloomberg.com.
Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, producers of the troubled musical, filed suit against Thibodeau earlier this year for scaring off an angel investor. As previously reported, the suit states that Thibodeau sent "disturbing and malicious emails" from two email addresses that pointed the anonymous angel to published reports of fraud involving some of the investors behind the show, and characterized the project as a bad investment.
Thibodeau's countersuit against Sprecher and Forlenza, filed Nov. 12, claims breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud. Thibodeau states that he was never paid for his work and continued to represent Rebecca on good faith.
The veteran press agent said he became suspicious of the producers' motives last year when he was asked to draft a press release about the demise of a South African investor. Thibodeau's claim states that Sprecher and Forlenza refused to share details of the deceased investor, even following phone calls from the New York Times inquiring about the investor's identity.
Thibodeau states that he realized the investor had never existed and that producers did not make the information public so as not to scare off a major investor in Rebecca. He has said that his role in the matter was that of an "innocent whistleblower."
Long Island businessman Mark Hotton, who was charged by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office with defrauding Rebecca producers Sprecher and Forlenza "by fabricating the prospect of $4.5 million in financing commitments," plead guilty earlier this year.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently cleared Sprecher and Forlenza of any wrongdoing in their financial dealings. A judge also dismissed Sprecher and Florenza's claims against Thibodeau of fiduciary duty. They continue to pursue their charges of defamation and breach of contract against their former press rep.
Sprecher and Forlenza are now hoping for a fall 2014 Broadway arrival for Rebecca. Thomas Drozda of VBW has extended Sprecher's window into 2014 to raise the capital necessary to produce Rebecca on Broadway.
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