NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman said an offer to buy Harvey Weinstein's film and TV company is not acceptable in its current form and he wants Weinstein's brother Robert off the board. "They knew what was happening".
The attorney general's office said in a statement that it brought the lawsuit Sunday partly due to reports of the company's imminent sale, saying it believed it would leave victims without adequate redress.
The lawsuit, which described Weinstein's "unrelenting sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination", also accused The Weinstein Company of failing to stop the abuse.
Weinstein's lawyer Ben Brafman claims the investigation will not be successful, and that the allegations agains Weinstein are "without merit". Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched, Schneiderman said in a news release.
The lawsuit comes four months after the Hollywood mogul's career ended over allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape now levelled by more than 100 women spanning 40 years.
The attorney general is urging anyone looking to purchase the Weinstein company to take serious considerations before signing the dotted line.
"To work for Harvey Weinstein was to work under a persistent barrage of gender-based obscenities, vulgar name-calling, sexualized interactions, threats of violence, and a workplace general hostile to women", according to court papers.
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The case has been filed electronically in Manhattan's State Supreme Court and the timing is expected to cause a delay in the sale of The Weinstein Company (TWC), which is facing bankruptcy, the New York Times reported. "If the goal however is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself", he said in a statement.
"If the goal of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr Weinstein will embrace the investigation".
"When an attorney for a purchaser says 'Why should we talk to you?' that tells you all you need to hear", Mr Schneiderman said.
"We obtained a form of Mr. Weinstein's personnel file; we were told that the physical personnel file had gone missing, which is another issue of concern to us", Schneiderman said.
While the parties were still working on the terms when the suit was filed, 15 per cent of the emerging company would have been owned by Mr Burkle, the source said.
Glasser was a longtime Weinstein Company executive who was slated to become the CEO after the company was acquired by an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet. Contreras-Sweet, who spoke with Schneiderman's office over the weekend, was also reluctant to close the deal after learning of the AG's oversight proposals.