Packed house for guilty verdict

TORONTO — The spectacular fall of two of Canada’s highest-flying theatre impresarios ended with an emphatic thud Wednesday as Livent Inc. co-founders Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb were found guilty of cooking their company’s books and defrauding investors of millions.

Livent co-founder Garth Drabinsky arrives at the Superior Courthouse in Toronto on Wednesday. Livent co-founders Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb have been found guilty of fraud and forgery related to the now defunct Toronto-based entertainment company.

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The spectacular fall of two of Canada’s highest-flying theatre impresarios ended with an emphatic thud Wednesday as Livent Inc. co-founders Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb were found guilty of cooking their company’s books and defrauding investors of millions.

As family members wept, the grim-faced men, whose Broadway and Canadian productions of Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Phantom of the Opera and Show Boat thrilled audiences across the continent, left court in silence.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto delivered a brief oral judgment by starting with some high praise for the two men before pronouncing a guilty verdict to a standing-room-only courtroom.

“The creative success that you achieved through your company was spectacular,” Benotto said. “It performed wonders.”

While the well-deserved success and honours the men achieved “reflected favourably” on all Canadians, Benotto continued, the trial was about the company’s dishonest accounting practices, not about its theatrical successes.

“The accounting system was fraudulent,” she said, before pronouncing the duo guilty. “You knew what was happening.”

Drabinsky, 59, who was named to the Order of Canada, and his business partner, Gottlieb, 65, deliberately misrepresented their company’s finances before it went public in the early 1990s.

They then “systematically manipulated” the books to outwardly increase profits, Benotto said.

She compared Livent’s growth to “an athlete taking a performance-enhancing drug” that might lead to fantastic results but which nevertheless “involves cheating.”

The convictions on two counts each of fraud and one of forgery carry respective maximum sentences of 10 and 14 years. The men, who have not been in custody, will appear in court April 8 to begin the sentencing process.

The pair were represented by the legal “dream team” duo of brothers Edward and Brian Greenspan, who said they would only comment after reading Benotto’s 80-page-plus written decision.

“We have not read it and we need an opportunity to review it carefully,” said Edward Greenspan, who defended Drabinsky.

“We have to do that before we can make any comment.”

The men had pleaded not guilty to all charges, arguing that underlings had cooked the books without their knowledge.

Just Posted

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read