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Weinstein Took $600K From an AIDS Charity To Pay Off Personal Debt

John Palmer/MediaPunch/IPX
John Palmer/MediaPunch/IPX

The former film executive's web of deceit continues to spread. 

Harvey Weinstein's malicious web of deceit spreads wider than anyone could have possibly imagined. The disgraced former film executive took $600k in donations from an amfAR AIDS benefit gala to pay off a debt he owed to the American Repertory Theater, according to a new report by The Huffington Post.

Weinstein invested in the ART's production of Finding Neverland, and, as a condition, the theater "would reimburse Weinstein and other show investors for money they put into the trial run, provided the investors got third parties to donate the amounts." This meant Weinstein owed $600k to ART, and needed to have the funds in their account by June 1, 2015 or the money would not be returned to him.

Enter the amfAR gala, which Weinstein agreed to help procure prizes and A-list guests in exchange for taking half of the proceeds to give to the ART. He reportedly made this deal with the gala's non-executive chairman, Kenneth Cole, and they decided to split the proceeds of the benefit 50/50.

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The night's auction featured a "Hollywood experience" package, which included tickets to an Oscars party, as well as two available photo sessions with Mario Testino. Across three winning bidders, the gala raised $909,669 in total--just under their $1.2 million goal. Instead of splitting that down the middle, Weinstein still took $600k--well over half--in order to pay off the ART.

But because the auction money had yet to be collected from the night's winners, Weinstein had to wire amfAR $600k from his own personal account on the condition they pay ART by June 1.

An email to HuffPo from amfAR CEO Kevin Frost explains the organization's misgivings with the Weinstein deal: "I'm going on record on here to express my concerns about this whole process," Frost wrote. "I have expressed to Kenneth [Cole] that I don't believe amfAR should execute this transfer of funds prior to hearing a judgement from our auditors. Nothing about this deal feels right to me and I believe we have not done due diligence to understand exactly what this money is being directed to or why amfAR is being used to facilitate these transfers. Kenneth has heard my concerns and despite that is directing amfAR to execute this transfer to ART in fulfillment of an agreement he made with Harvey Weinstein."

When an investigation began into Weinstein and Cole's proceedings through this transaction, Weinstein reportedly offered to make a $1 million dollar donation to amfAR over the course of 5 years on the condition each board member sign a nondisclosure agreement.

"After the New York Attorney General's Office reviewed the transaction between amfAR and Weinstein they declined to pursue an investigation," Cole said in an email statement to OUT. "It did, however, highlight opportunities to strengthen the governance of the organization. I am personally committed to implementing the OAG's recommendations to ensure that our fundraising policies and procedures are never called into question again. The mission is too important, there remain millions of lives at risk and the work is far from finished to allow any of us to be distracted from the task of conquering HIV/AIDS."

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