Monday, October 18, 2004

Ovitz Versus Eisner vs Board of D: 'It's a marquee case'

Is 15 months worth of work at Disney by the former top agent in Tinseltown worth a heaping $140 million payout? No? How about having Disney pay $2 million to renovate your office?

Pshaw. Hollywood excess. The amateurs. Give The Corsair an American Express Centurion card, a bottle of Cutty Sark and a hott personal shopper in my employ, my friend, and then -- (sotto voce) and only then -- you will know the true meaning of the word: excess.

How about, as USA Today writes, "... (Expensing) $500,000 for charitable contributions, $350,000 for 'home catered' breakfasts, $100,000 for Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers season tickets, $90,000 for a party at his home and $50,000 for a home screening room."

$50,000 would make -- technically -- a killer "constructure", in which, to wit, to "reminisce about the crunk dayz.

Frankly, The Corsair thought that we would never again hear again from Ovitz after his Vanity Fair interview-meltdown where he blamed his woes on the "gay mafia," and not, tellingly, on the scores of high-powered enemies he racked up over the years in a town where you see the same faces on the way down as you saw on the way up. Funny how someone as smart as Ovitz could be so drunk off the stupid juice.

Of Ovitz's logorrhea, E! Online wrote at the time:

"In what many are calling career suicide for a man who founded Creative Artists Agency and once was the most powerful suit in Tinseltown, Ovitz details the rise and fall (and sabotage, natch) of Artists Management Group, his startup talent-management agency and production company that collapsed after three years.

"After spending millions of dollars of his own money--and then failing to secure several big-money deals--Ovitz was forced to sell off his struggling baby in May to management company the Firm for a very humbling $12 million."

The Corsair would sell out for a mere $12 hundred and a bag of the "sticky-ickiest."

"Ovitz, however, is convinced the story would have gone differently if not for the scheming of (David) Geffen, New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub (whom he said 'parrots' everything Geffen tells him), former CAA prot�g�s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett, and Ovitz's former boss, Disney chief Michael Eisner."

Ladies and gentlemen -- the gay mafia, everybody ... who knows what evil is wrought upon an unsuspecting universe when Bernie Weinraub and David Geffen get together, by the pool, for Apple Martini's .in Lala land ...

"'It was the goal of these people to eliminate me,' Ovitz said. 'They wanted to kill Michael Ovitz. If they could have taken my wife and kids, they would have.'"

That's silly talk. Daffy even. Everyone knows the Marquis of Queensbery Rules strictly forbid the well groomed soldiers in the gay mafia from the "taking out" of kids. Piffle. Against the rules, Jules. Kids are non-combatants. Everyone in the Screen Actors Guild knows that.

The Disney shareholders' courtroom drama against the Board of Directors, who paid Ovitz $140 million, is the hott ticket -- hotter than Naomi Watts in I Heart Huckabees -- set to go down, baby pop, in, as USA Today describes it, "a relatively tiny courtroom in Georgetown, Del., population about 5,000" this Wednesday. Sweet.

Salivating insiders are, according to Maria Bartiromo on CNBC, paying up to $600 a week to watch this trial online. And if David Lieberman is right, the ruling may send reverberations throughout executive lounges and townhouses across the country. The days of outlandish golden parachutes may be of yesteryear.

USA Today:

"Chancery Court will hear a case that could both fundamentally change the laws of corporate governance and shed new light on one of Hollywood's most Shakespearean business sagas: the spectacular collapse of onetime super agent Michael Ovitz in his stint in 1995 and 1996 as president of the Walt Disney Co. (DIS).

"Lawyers for Disney shareholders will argue that CEO Michael Eisner and the board ? including Ovitz ? violated their fiduciary responsibilities.

"Shareholders allege they failed to properly scrutinize Ovitz's contract in 1995. In 1996, when Ovitz was in over his head, plaintiffs say, Disney compounded the error by letting Ovitz walk away with $140 million in cash and stock."

Krysten Craford of CNN/Money writes of the dreadful (Averted Gaze) fiasco:

"Aside from the airing of dirty laundry, the trial is worth watching in part because the charges of gross mismanagement come at an awkward time for Disney's board.

"Company directors are searching for a successor to embattled CEO Eisner, who plans to step down in 2006 after a tumultuous 22 years at the helm.

"Given the charges at the heart of the Delaware lawsuit -- that an earlier Disney board kowtowed to Eisner, to the detriment of investors -- directors are under intense pressure to demonstrate their independence.

"That could mean bad news for Eisner's hand-picked successor, current Disney president Robert Iger."

Iger, who has had some success in the new tv season, recently, spoke on Disney's forays into Asia, getting all New Agey:

"'We know if we're too U.S.-centric, the products won't be too relevant to those markets,' Iger said. 'That's particularly true as it relates to Hong Kong Disneyland.'

"Esther Wong, a spokeswoman for Hong Kong Disneyland, said that the company had rotated the orientation of the entire park by several degrees in the early design phase after consulting a master of feng shui, a Chinese practice of seeking harmony with spiritual forces.The park is scheduled to open sometime late next year or early 2006."

No word yet on whether those "spiritual forces" will aid him when the shit hits the fan.

USA Today sums it all up nicely:

"Some court watchers say the Delaware Supreme Court decision already has changed the legal landscape.

"'By allowing (the case) to go forward, (Veasey's) created precedent,' says Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware's John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. 'This is a watershed.'

"He adds, 'The stakes are so high, I'm surprised it's going to trial' instead of Disney settling.

"As they plow ahead, 'the courts are being asked to go to a place they've never been before,' says B. Kenneth West, chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors. 'It's a marquee case.'"


Anonymous said...

you're the best

welcome back kitten

The Corsair said...

The Corsair throws anonymous a virtual kiss.