Livent Producers Drabinsky and Gottlieb Are Guilty of Fraud, Canadian Court Says

News   Livent Producers Drabinsky and Gottlieb Are Guilty of Fraud, Canadian Court Says
Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, the producers who gave North American theatre a shot in the arm with award-winning productions of Show Boat, Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Barrymore and more, were found guilty of fraud and forgery carried out at their production company Livent, Inc., a Canadian court ruled March 25.
Garth Drabinsky, creator and producer of
Garth Drabinsky, creator and producer of "Triple Sensation." Photo by Michael Cooper

Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto made her judgment in Toronto, 11 months after the trial began, the Toronto Star reported. She said the producing duo's "creative success" was "spectacular" but that "widespread and long-standing" fraud and "deliberate misrepresentation" clouded their efforts. "I have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that you knew what was happening," she said.

The publicly traded company collapsed in the late 1990s. It was the only public company whose primary purpose was to produce commercial theatre.

Benotto released an 86-page document of the trial and her decision.

"The financial statements were manipulated. The object was to keep income as close to budget as possible," Benotto wrote. "This was done by moving expenses from one period to another, by amortization roles, by applying the expenses of one show to another and by allocating operating costs to fixed asset accounts."

A sentencing date will be announced April 8.

Six former Livent accountants testified in the trial, saying they were ordered to inflate income and profit documentation, prosecutors said. The defense said their impresario clients were the victims of a conspiracy.

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