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New York Attorney General ‘Disappointed’ by Collapse of Weinstein Deal

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman expressed disappointment Monday at the collapse of the sale of the Weinstein Co., and defended its decision to intervene in the deal.

In a statement from spokesman Eric Soufer, the attorney general’s office said that the buyers — led by Maria Contreras-Sweet and Ron Burkle — had pledged up to $90 million for victims of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment. If true, that would mark a substantial increase from earlier proposals.

“We are disappointed that despite a clear path forward on those issues — including the buyer’s commitment to dedicate up to $90 million to victim compensation and implement gold-plated HR policies — the parties were unable to resolve their financial differences,” Soufer said.

The Weinstein Co. is now expected to file for bankruptcy and to lay off much of its workforce. The sale collapsed on Sunday night, as the Weinstein Co. board sent a letter blasting the buyers for not pledging to provide for the company’s immediate cash flow needs.

The failure of deal will likely lead to some finger-pointing at the attorney general’s office. Two weeks ago, the parties were close to an agreement when Schneiderman filed a discrimination lawsuit, which sought oversight of the company’s sexual harassment policies and management team.

Since then, Schneiderman said that the office had engaged in “very productive discussions with both parties” about the issues raised in the suit. The statement is careful to pin the reason for the collapse of the sale on “financial differences,” though clearly the attorney general’s intervention delayed the deal, increasing the financial pressure on the Weinstein Co.

“We will continue to pursue justice for victims in the event of the company’s bankruptcy, and our investigation into the pattern of egregious abuse by Harvey Weinstein and his enablers is ongoing,” Soufer said in the statement.

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