Schwartz’s shifting to Cablevision

Company nets AOL TW's legal eagle

NEW YORK — AOL Time Warner deputy general counsel Jonathan Schwartz, who officially resigned from the conglom this week, is set to sign on as Cablevision chief counsel as early as next week.

Schwartz’s departure, coming less than a year after he joined AOL TW to help navigate the treacherous legal waters of a Justice Dept. probe into the online company’s accounting, sparked some concern among investors that Cablevision’s own recent accounting revelations may need SEC advisory expertise. But sources near the Long Island, N.Y.-based media group insist Schwartz’s recruitment predates its own accounting revelations.

Cablevision last week fired 14 senior staffers at its Rainbow Media division after an internal investigation uncovered improper accounting procedures at its cable programming unit. Cablevision said it has since notified the appropriate government authorities on the matter and refused to comment further.

Cablevision has been without a general counsel since 22-year vet Robert Lemle retired last December.

Departure amicable

AOL Time Warner insisted Schwartz’s departure was amicable and said he was seeking an opportunity for a major promotion.

Schwartz could have his hands full. A Justice Dept. vet himself, he joined AOL TW last summer and was coordinating the ongoing investigation process with Justice and Securities & Exchange Commission officials. AOL TW sources said he will not be immediately replaced.

“Our process (with the SEC) continues. We have a group of attorneys working on this and won’t miss a beat in our work with Justice,” an AOL TW spokesman said.

The team includes former Justice Dept. official David Kriss, who recently joined AOL TW’s legal staff.