×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke

Salke and husband deny any wrongdoing.

Last Updated: September 20, 2019

Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of the scandal in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety.

It does not appear that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case.

The Salkes were never contacted by investigators, and there does not appear to be adequate evidence to prove wrongdoing. They are among the hundreds of parents who retained the tutoring services of Rick Singer, the Newport Beach college admissions consultant at the center of the scandal. The couple issued a statement on Friday acknowledging that they hired Singer for legitimate college counseling and ACT tutoring services for their daughters.

The FBI did not scrutinize each and every parent who used Singer’s services. Over the last several weeks, Variety asked Jennifer Salke and her representatives to clarify her relationship with Singer. At the time, Jennifer Salke declined to comment on the matter. Amazon also declined comment.

Rick Singer operated the Edge College & Career Network, otherwise known as the Key, which assisted affluent parents looking to get their children into top colleges. Singer pleaded guilty in March to orchestrating a vast conspiracy to gain admission by bribing college coaches and by fraudulently boosting his clients’ SAT and ACT scores. The Key also offered legitimate college counseling and tutoring services. Investigators are still analyzing a mountain of evidence in an effort to distinguish between parents who used the legitimate services and those who engaged in fraud.

In their statement issued on Friday, the Salkes said they had never discussed or engaged in any illegal activity with Rick Singer.

“We are releasing this statement to clarify an issue which has become increasingly of interest to various members of the press,” they said. “Like many other families, we engaged the legitimate services of Rick Singer’s company, the Key Worldwide, to provide college counseling and tutoring services for our children.

“Singer’s company provided our daughters with a tutor for ACT testing and guidance on the college application process. Our daughters took the ACT test in an official testing facility, which included a proctor. Neither were allotted extra time or required any assistance. Rick Singer provided periodic in person counseling, primarily related to college selection. We never engaged in any discussion involving any illegal activity in any of those meetings. Our daughters did not apply to college as athletes of any kind, nor did they apply to any of the since-exposed schools involved in the scandal. We have never written a check or sent any other type of payment to the fraudulent Key Worldwide Foundation. We have never been contacted by law enforcement (including the DOJ and the FBI) about this case.”

“Our girls graduated with outstanding academic records at the very top of their class from a highly competitive high school. They applied to college in a standard manner and the only payment we made to any university was for the processing of their applications. We are proud of their accomplishments.”

The FBI investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, led to the filing of charges against 33 parents in March, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Federal authorities said from the beginning that the investigation is ongoing, and that others could be charged.

Jennifer Salke was tapped to head Amazon Studios in February 2018, following an extensive search. Salke replaced Roy Price, and was previously the entertainment President at NBC.

More Biz

  • US Capitol

    The Sneaky Long Game of ALI’s Restatement of Copyright (Guest Column)

    Last week, Senator Thom Tillis and four other members of Congress sent a letter to an organization you may never have heard of, the American Law Institute (ALI).  The letter questions the ALI’s ongoing project to publish a competing version of the Copyright Act – or, as the ALI calls it, a “Restatement” of copyright [...]

  • Tom Petty’s Daughters, Widow Settle Legal

    Tom Petty’s Daughters, Widow Settle Legal Battle Over Estate

    Tom Petty’s widow and daughters from a previous marriage have settled their bitter legal battle, according to a report in Rolling Stone. Earlier this year, Adria Petty and Annakim Violette, the late singer’s daughters with his former wife Jane, sued his second wife, Dana York, for $5 million, alleging that she had deprived them of [...]

  • Tropical rainforest on the banks of

    Warner Music Aims to Plant 100,000 Trees in the Amazon as Holiday Gift to Staff

    In a move that inspired and environmentally conscious companies will hopefully emulate, as a holiday gift to its employees, Warner Music Group is partnering with the One Tree Planted organization to plant trees in the fire-ravaged Amazon forest. The company is planting 10 trees in the Amazon for each employee — a total of 48,210 [...]

  • Republic Records Names Chris Blackwell Senior

    Republic Records Names Chris Blackwell Senior VP of Creative Content

    Republic Records has named Chris Blackwell senior vice president of creative content & development, it was announced today by co-founders Monte and Avery Lipman and general manager Jim Roppo. According to the announcement, Blackwell will lead creative development for film, television and premium platform projects set to feature and showcase Republic Records artists. His responsibilities include establishing partnerships to create, develop, [...]

  • China Spying Technology Tik Tok Placeholder

    TikTok Gains Global Momentum -- but Also Raises Sticky Privacy Questions

    Bay Area rapper Saweetie didn’t intend for “My Type” to come out as a single. But when a clip of the bouncy anthem about desirable (and slightly vulgar) attributes in a partner started to take off on TikTok as part of a social media challenge, it became clear the song would be her defining hit. The [...]

  • Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift

    Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift Catalog, Address Scooter Braun Drama (Sort Of)

    Kewsong Lee, co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a private equity fund whose assets include a minority investment in Big Machine Label Group, the record company that’s home to Taylor Swift’s catalog, spoke to CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Wednesday. During the interview, held at the Goldman Sachs Financial Conference, host Wilfred Frost asked the business executive [...]

  • Mergers and Deals Placeholder

    Top 19 Media Trends of 2019: Mega Mergers

    Media consolidation has been rife in the past two years, as traditional media companies have scaled up in order to protect themselves against the new entrants challenging their business.  Traditional media has spent $229 billion since March 2018 on just six key mergers as rivals opted to combine their assets to compete in the new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content