×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Al Jazeera Says Al Gore’s Claims of Fraud Are ‘Blatantly False’

Al Jazeera pushed back on Al Gore and Joel Hyatt’s lawsuit over the sale of Current TV, contending that their claims that Al Jazeera engaged in fraud in withholding tens of millions in payments are “blatantly false and potentially misleading as to the true nature of this commercial dispute.”

Rather, Al Jazeera argues that Gore and Hyatt gave “inaccurate” assurances that Current TV was not in breach of contracts, forcing Al Jazeera to file claims against an escrow account holding funds to cover indemnification.

“Rather than indemnifying Al Jazeera as they were required to do, Gore and Hyatt have resorted to a preemptive lawsuit and lawyer-driven public relations maneuvers,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.

Gore and Hyatt filed suit on Friday against Al Jazeera, suggesting that the news channel was seeking a price discount from their purchase of Current TV in January 2013, reportedly for $500 million. Current TV was transformed into Al Jazeera America, but Gore and Hyatt say that the channel has withheld funds from an escrow account. The lawsuit was sealed at the request of Al Jazeera, according to David Boies, Gore and Hyatt’s attorney.

Al Jazeera, however, says that the escrow account was set up as a “standard business practice” to cover any claims of breach of contract while Gore and Hyatt ran the channel.

“If Al Jazeera received claims of contract breach from third parties, it was to notify the escrow agent, who would keep money in the escrow account to cover that amount,” Al Jazeera said in the statement. “If Al Jazeera became liable to pay damages or settle its contract dispute with a third party, it would receive reimbursement for these amounts, and its attorney’s fees and costs, from the escrow fund.  Any unused escrow money was to be paid to the sellers.”

Al Jazeera said that as it turned out, they did receive claims of contract breach, and so it then demanded indemnification.

“Al Jazeera is not seeking a ‘discount’ from the hundreds of millions of dollars it has already paid to the Gore-Hyatt group,” Al Jazeera said.  “The money in the escrow fund is intended to indemnify Al Jazeera, and Al Jazeera’s indemnification claims are more than the amount held in escrow.  The sellers themselves agreed that if Al Jazeera’s right to indemnification exceeded the escrow fund, the sellers would not receive anything from it.”

Al Jazeera did not identify who claimed breach of contract, although it indicated that it would submit a formal response to the lawsuit, which was filed in a Delaware court. One of the highest profile cases filed against Current TV was from Keith Olbermann, who sued the channel for $50 million. It was settled in March 2013, shortly after the sale was announced.

Andrew L. Deutsch, partner at DLA Piper, which represents Al Jazeera, said, “The response will provide a clear explanation of Al Jazeera’s position and its right to indemnification from escrow funds. Al Jazeera welcomes the opportunity to resolve this commercial dispute before an impartial tribunal.”

Update: Boies said in a statement, “If it thinks this is an ordinary commercial dispute, then Al Jazeera America should be willing to allow the entire complaint to be made public.”

More Biz

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Gersh Agency Stirs Ire After Canceling Network Meeting for Former Client

    In a sign of hostility in the war between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, Gersh Agency has come under fire from TV and film writers for canceling a network meeting that it had arranged for a now-former client. Writer Jorge Reyes disclosed the incident in a series of tweets on Monday. Reyes asserted [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Nickelodeon Alum Keith Dawkins Sets Kidvid Partnership With Believe Entertainment Group

    Former Nickelodeon executive Keith Dawkins has partnered with Believe Entertainment Group to develop children’s programming. Dawkins will partner with Believe under his newly formed Rock Hill Media Ventures, which aims to advise companies in media, entertainment and sports on working with diverse and emerging talent. Dawkins previously spent 17 years at Viacom, most of which [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The

    CAA's Packaging Fee Becomes Flashpoint in 'Walking Dead' Litigation

    UPDATED with new statement and response filing The issue that is at the heart of the WGA’s present standoff with talent agencies has flared up as a source of tension in the litigation between AMC Networks and Frank Darabont and CAA over profit participation on “The Walking Dead.” Attorneys for Darabont and CAA called AMC’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content