Former theatre mogul Myron Gottlieb has been granted full parole, despite what the Parole Board of Canada calls his “abject refusal” to take responsibility for his crimes.
Gottlieb and Garth Drabinsky, the co-founders of now-defunct Livent Inc., were convicted of two counts each of fraud in a scheme to falsify financial statements so they could keep pace with lofty earnings projections.
Livent, behind such hits as Phantom of the Opera, filed for bankruptcy soon after the fraud was discovered in 1998. Its demise is estimated to have cost investors about $500-million.
The parole board says the courts clearly found Gottlieb was active in arranging and facilitating the fraud, and expresses dismay that Gottlieb says he is guilty only insofar as he didn’t properly oversee those working below him.
Gottlieb was granted day parole from Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ont., to a halfway house in Toronto in July after serving about 11 months of his four-year sentence.
The board this week released the full parole decision from February. In it, they order Gottlieb not to have contact with Drabinsky, to give financial information to his parole supervisor and not to be self-employed, operate a business or manage the finances of any other person, business or charity.
Since Gottlieb was released on day parole he has been unable to find work, the board said, but noted that was likely due to his age – he’s 69 years old – and notoriety.
Gottlieb does not pose an undue risk to the community from his “abject refusal to acknowledge (his) active role in the index offence,” the board said.
“The findings of the court are a far cry from your expressed view that it happened because you did not exercise sufficient oversight to the work of those below you,” the board said to Gottlieb in its decision. “To this day you persist that your conviction was correct only because you were at the top of the pyramid and responsible for the work of others. You have consistently refused to acknowledge your own culpability.”
Gottlieb apologized for his crime at his July parole hearing, saying he should have spoken up in August 1997, when he said he realized the second-quarter financial report was off by about $24-million.
“I spent a lifetime trying to build a reputation and I blew it very fast,” he told the hearing. “When I knew it was happening, it was like hitting a brick wall and I can’t forgive myself.”
Gottlieb said he has a negative net worth now.
Drabinsky, who was granted day parole in October after serving about 14 months of his five-year sentence, is in the process of fighting a decision to strip him of his Order of Canada appointment.