Convicted Producer Garth Drabinsky Granted Full Parole
By Adam Hetrick
Livent founder Garth Drabinsky, the Broadway producer of such Tony-winning works as Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman, has been granted full parole after beging convicted of fraud in 2009.
The New York Post reports that Drabinsky will spend the final two years of his parole at home with family. He was convicted of fraud and forgery in 2009. Drabinsky's incarceration began in September 2011.
Drabinsky was granted day parole in 2012, which allowed him to serve a portion of his five-year sentence "at large," while having to return to a community-based residential facility or a provincial correctional facility each night.
The former theatrical impresario still may not own or operate any business, may not become self-employed or manage financial aspects of any organization.
Drabinsky, whose Broadway Livent-linked shows in the 1990s and 2000s included Ragtime, Parade, Barrymore, Fosse, Seussical and more, was convicted on two counts of fraud and one count of forgery in 2009. The fraud and forgery convictions against Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb (sentenced to seven and six years, respectively) were upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal in fall 2011. At that time, the court reduced their prison sentences by two years.
They were convicted of falsifying accounting statements over the decade-long (1989-98) life of Livent, as they raised $500 million in Canada and the U.S. to support their North American theatre-owning and producing empire.
Accounting irregularities at Livent were investigated in the late 1990s, when the company was reaching artistic fruition with the new musical Ragtime, which opened Livent's then-new Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Broadway (the venue, now called Foxwoods Theater, is a merging of the facades of two vintage Broadway theatres). Ragtime would end up winning 1998 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Score, among others. (Fosse, which won a 1999 Tony as Best Musical, was then in the works.) By late 1998, the decade-old company declared bankruptcy and collapsed, and the stock was worthless. Bloomberg reported that the company's peak value was $269 million in 1996.
Drabinsky and Gottlieb are still wanted men in the U.S. In 1999 they were charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.
In 1999 Livent's properties were bought by SFX Entertainment, which is now Live Nation.
Drabinsky's Livent, Inc., won Tony Awards for Best Musical (Fosse and Kiss of the Spider Woman) and Best Revival of a Musical (Show Boat), and its productions netted scores of nominations and many wins for artists.
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