×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

L.A. Times Publisher’s Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson.

Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the recordings referring to a “Jewish cabal” that runs Los Angeles. The report stated the Maharaj was able to use the recordings as “ammunition” in the settlement talks.

According to NPR, a retired judge who reviewed Ferro’s recorded remarks suggested that Tronc settle the case to avoid public embarrassment.

Maharaj’s attorney, Eric George, disputed that interpretation, saying in a statement on Wednesday that Maharaj was compensated for his 30 years of service to the Times.

“We reject any assertion that Davan received any payments to keep information secret,” George said.

The situation recalls the contentious fight between Gibson and his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, in 2010. George represented Grigorieva, who had made recordings of Gibson, in which he called her a “whore” and a “c—” and suggested that she should be “raped by a pack of n—ers.”

According to reporting at the time, George alluded to the tapes in a conference with Gibson’s lawyers, saying “It would ruin his career if this got out.” In another meeting, George reportedly played one of the recordings for Gibson’s lawyers and asked for a settlement worth $20 million.

Gibson accused Grigorieva of extortion, and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. In March 2011, prosecutors opted not to file charges. Griegorieva reached a $16 million deal with Gibson in May 2010, but the agreement fell apart and the recordings were later leaked to Radar Online.

The L.A. Times published a front-page article on the case in February 2011, and a follow-up the next month. At the time, Maharaj was managing editor of the paper.

Maharaj was later promoted to editor and executive vice president of the paper, and then to editor-in-chief and publisher before he was fired in 2017. He subsequently hired George to pursue negotiations with Tronc.

Eric George declined to comment.

More Biz

  • FILE - In this Jan. 12,

    How to Watch the Patriots vs. Chiefs - AFC Championship

    The conference championships are set to take place Sunday, Jan. 20 ahead of Feb. 3’s Super Bowl LIII, with the top two teams in each the AFC and NFC conferences going head to head. The second game, the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs, is set to begin at 6:40 p.m. ET at [...]

  • The line of scrimmage between the

    How to Watch Rams vs. Saints Online - NFC Championship

    The conference championships are set to take place Sunday, Jan. 20 ahead of Feb. 3’s Super Bowl LIII, with the top two teams in each the AFC and NFC conferences going head to head. The first game, the Los Angeles Rams against the New Orleans Saints, is set to begin at 3:05 p.m. ET at [...]

  • MAGA Teens Taunting Native American Elder

    MAGA Hat-Wearing Teens Harassing Native American Elder Spark Condemnation From Hollywood

    The Internet erupted in outrage Saturday after a video of young men wearing MAGA hats and attempting to intimidate a Native American man at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. went viral. The march is taking place amid the government shutdown, which is nearing the one-month mark and has interfered with many Native Americans’ [...]

  • Leonard Klady Dead: Film Journalist Was

    Leonard Klady, Veteran Film Journalist, Dies at 67

    Leonard “Len” Klady, a former Variety reporter and critic who most recently worked for Movie City News and Screen International, has died. His wife, Beverly Walker, said he had been diagnosed with cancer in November.  Klady was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and graduated from the University of Manitoba. He was a founding member of the [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content