Hollywood has come out swinging for Harvey Weinstein in a cash dispute with an AIDS charity.
The likes of George Clooney, Heidi Klum and Ryan Gosling have backed the movie mogul in a potentially embarrassing scandal.
The dispute centers over a funding row and designer Kenneth Cole – a close friend of Weinstein.
Over $600,000 that was raised at amfAR's gala dinner at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015 and was given to the American Repertory Theater (ART) at Harvard.
However, some board members complained to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman because they the nonprofit's chairman Kenneth Cole did not consult them before agreeing that the auction could raise money for both amfAR and ART.
Sources claim that Weinstein is furious that he has been dragged into the dispute because he’s raised as much as $50 million for the charity over the years.
The notoriously powerful producer was enraged that they were trying to remove his good friend Cole from the prestigious post to replace him with their own people.
The $600,000 was part of the money raised at the auction at the glitzy ball in Cannes in 2015 for gifts provided by Weinstein.
Cole had agreed that the auction item could raise money for both amfAR and ART, with Weinstein's company pledging to raise $600,000 for both.
Auction prizes included; a private photo shoot with Mario Testino, tickets to the new James Bond premiere next to actor Daniel Craig, two tickets to the Golden Globes, two tickets to the Golden Globes party and two tickets to the Oscars party and the Oscar weekend.
It is understood that $950,000 was raised with $350,000 going to amfAR – Cole reportedly donated the remaining $600,000 to ART.
Weinstein and other investors reportedly owed money to the ART but it could be paid back through charitable donations.
The board members argue that Cole did not put it to a board vote before agreeing the allocation claiming it is an offense for which he should resign.
It is understood that amfAR hired New York based lawyer Tom Ajamie to scrutinize the payment but after his conclusions were presented to the board a second law firm was hired to do the same job, at an additional cost of $500,000.
The second law firm was Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, also based in New York.
But these actions have split amFar – with 11 other board members backing Cole and Weinstein.
But the original four are sticking to their guns.
They released a statement saying: “We are extremely concerned about this and other actions by our non-executive Chairman and other members of the board and their apparent failure to abide by our governance policies on a number of occasions, which we believe was in clear violation of their fiduciary duties to the organization.”
Weinstein offered to write a check or $600,000 if any impropriety was found and it is understood tat he wants to keep working with the charity despite the mess.
His office has yet to release an official comment.
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