Drabinsky, Gottlieb roles in firm probed by RCMP
By PAUL WALDIE
The RCMP are looking into the roles of Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb in a Toronto-based film company to determine whether they have violated the conditions of their bail.The news is not good for the projected Gospel of Mark film, something I'd have very much liked to see:
Mr. Drabinsky and Mr. Gottlieb have been involved since 2002 in Visual Bible International Inc., whose shares trade in Canada and the United States. Both men were hired as consultants to produce the film The Gospel of John, which made its debut last year.
Mr. Drabinsky and Mr. Gottlieb were released on bail in 2002 after each was charged with 19 counts of fraud related to their involvement in defunct theatre company Livent Inc. Both have denied any wrongdoing.
One of the conditions of their bail was that they could not serve as a director or officer in any public company.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Visual Bible's former chief financial officer, Harold Kramer, alleges that Mr. Drabinsky and Mr. Gottlieb are in "de facto control over the business and affairs of [Visual Bible]" and exercise "power and authority as if they were directors or officers." Mr. Kramer also alleges their role has not been fully disclosed to securities regulators . . .
Visual Bible has struggled recently with poor sales, mass resignations and a flurry of lawsuits, including one from a former company chairman.It needs to be added that videos and DVDs of The Gospel of John are available (official web site; Amazon marketplace), though at the moment only in North America. I've not seen any sign of a British release, either theatrical or on DVD / Video.
The company once boasted a high-profile board that included former Ontario premier Mike Harris, former broadcaster Pamela Wallin, architect Moshe Safdie and media mogul Moses Znaimer. All have since left the board, along with several others.
The company planned to sell videos and DVDs of The Gospel of John and produce another film based on the Gospel of Mark. But sales have been sluggish and the second film is on hold. Last week, the company reported it lost $5.8-million in the second quarter of 2004, compared with a loss of $2.2-million a year earlier. Total sales were $2.5-million.