Day two of Her Majesty the Queen vs. Drabinsky and Gottlieb
What started as a tedious prologue transformed, in a flash, into a testy rough-and-tumble drama. The shift in tone was undeniably due to today’s introduction of Peter Kofman, Livent’s contractor, whose job throughout the ’90s was to renovate and build the theatrical palazzos that housed various Phantoms, Showboats and Sunset Boulevards. In a mood that might best be described as somewhere between abysmal and exasperated, Kofman testified on the Crown’s behalf regarding Livent’s accounting practices—practices that would have put a blush on even Max Bialystock’s face.
According to Kofman, money flowed back and forth between his engineering firm and Livent, including Livent sending invoices for work described as providing “introductions on your behalf to assist with business solicitation.” This didn’t make much sense since, as Kofman impatiently pointed out, his company was doing most, if not all, of its contracting work for Livent. (On hearing this, two aging Livent creditors—think Statler and Waldorf, only courtside—let out mirthless horse laughs from the back of the court.)
As the morning wore into the afternoon, Kofman became increasingly impatient with the halting and laborious pace at which the Crown was leading him through his testimony. Just before the lunch break, he finally let off a little steam: Kofman revealed how the pace of his construction work in Chicago, Vancouver and Manhattan had put “Garth and I at each other’s throats because the task was so enormous.” To make matters worse, in the midst of the construction ballyhoo, Livent started charging tickets for one of its L.A. productions to—wait for it—Kofman’s credit card without Kofman’s permission. Livent refused to reimburse him. Cue the zany klezmer music.
“For them to do that,” said Kofman, clearly at the end of his rope, “for them to say, ‘We’ll just abuse this guy more and more and more’…was just unbelievable.” At this point, I glanced over at Garth’s lawyer Eddie Greenspan, who had a narrow-eyed look that would have put Snidely Whiplash to shame.
The trial, as they say, continues.
• Engineer testifies Livent duo sucked him into phoney invoice scheme [CP]• Firm billed for work not done, Livent trial hears [Toronto Star]