Printer Friendly - REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit


REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by Rob 2013-01-29 13:51:48





REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by Joviedamian 2013-01-29 13:57:35


WOW!

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-29 14:06:36


This lawsuit will hopefully be dismissed as frivolous. Mr. Thibodeau was undoubtedly acting in good faith, and preventing someone from throwing good money after bad.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by Joviedamian 2013-01-29 15:37:10


I can see Ben's side here though. He was most likely counting on ANY money that might have come forward just to save the show. So Ben is thinking that by Marc saying what he said, would have hurt the show going forward if no further money was coming in. It may have all happened on it's own, but did not help much more if Marc added too it.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by WOSQ 2013-01-29 15:51:19


Rebecca has just been made toxic. No one with a lick of sense would go near it now.

Sprecher may have made himself toxic as well.

I'd love to hear conversations in the League offices right now along with ATPAM and then Sardi's Bar a little later.

What a stupendously bad move and not very smart either.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by FindingNamo 2013-01-29 16:19:37


This calls for The Toxic Avenger.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by PatrickDennis92 2013-01-29 16:27:28


If he was acting in good faith, why wouldn't he use his real name?

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-29 16:39:11


First, let's open the floor with a theory. It's easy to assume Mark C. Hotton was pulling a by-the-numbers practice con, but I think differently. My theory, and I admit it's only a theory so no getting suit-happy with me, is that Sprecher knew Hotton was bad news, but hoped he'd deliver the goods here, so they played C.Y.A. with the Abrams story, and when Sprecher knew he'd been had, he tried even more C.Y.A. only for it to backfire in his face. It fits with all the facts of the situation that were known before the Abrams debacle, namely that they were hurting for money until "Abrams joined the fold."

Now, that said, let's suppose other producers engage in similar behavior, covering for investors with shady pasts (could happen). And let's theoretically assume a universe where this situation resolved itself, the show opened, and Thibodeau still did what he did, minus the anonymity. Is Thibodeau going to get a job on any other productions engaging in similar behavior if they know he's the guy who blew the whistle on Sprecher? I don't think so.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by JMPlayer6 2013-01-29 16:43:05


It will be interesting to see the outcome of this. I had tickets to see "Rebecca" before the collapse. Frankly, even back then, it didn't strike me as something that would be a commercial successful. If it ever comes to be, I'll still see it though.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by FindingNamo 2013-01-29 16:52:59


It's a truth universally acknowledged that g.d.e.l.g.i. is the worst when it comes to theoreticals, and he's got a million of em.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-29 16:53:48


It's also a truth universally acknowledged that if you want to get someone into bed with you, you compliment them. Keep going, Namo, and you might even get a little tongue with the kiss.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by FindingNamo 2013-01-29 16:54:37


I'm not into boys in their parents' basements.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-29 16:56:46


Joke's on you, my office is upstairs. Sort of like Anne Frank, but I'm Italian. I'll await the dozen roses with bated breath.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by PatrickDennis92 2013-01-29 17:20:11


It isn't the press agent's job to interfere in any way with the producer's attempt to capitalize the show. If I found out that someone in my employ had intentionally (and anonymously) sabotaged what was otherwise a done deal to capitalize a project I'd been working on for years, I would feel well within my rights to sue them. I, for one, assuming we have the facts correct (big assumption), hope Mr. Sprecher wins his lawsuit. If Mr. Thibodeau had every good intention, he should have used his real name. It is a cowardly act to hide behind a false persona with the mindset of destruction. If you want to destroy something, you should take the risks associated with it. If Mr. Thibodeau thought it was so important to get this investor out of the show that it merited jeopardizing his own career by standing up for something he believed in, then I would applaud his efforts; but that isn't what he did. He thought he would just interfere without any consequences at all to his own reputation or career. It's very disturbing to me.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by MarkBearSF 2013-01-29 17:50:59


What is the liability of the Press Agent and other members of the office if probable fraud is known, yet they solicit other investors?

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by TheLadyoftheWood 2013-01-29 19:34:47


Rebecca, the gift that just keeps on giving! It's like Christmas all over again and it's only January.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-29 21:01:31


I've said before that Sprecher was a good friend to me when I first moved to NYC in 1977, even subletting his apartment to me while he toured with ROBBER BRIDEGROOM. So all of this REBECCA stuff just makes me sad. (I've also said I have no inside knowledge and haven't seen Ben since I moved to California.)

I can understand why Sprecher feels betrayed by his press agent.

But can we speculate as to Thibodeaux' motivation? If he wasn't using his real name, how was he to get credit for his heroics? Maybe he really was trying to do the right thing and nothing more.

Any of us who feels our employer is engaged in unethical practices would find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, I imagine.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by lovesclassics 2013-01-29 22:30:25


Why wouldn't the publicist just resign the account if he felt he was being ethically compromised? Potential investors could infer whatever they wanted from that action. To hang on long enough to warn the "angel" and then do damage control based on his own actions is just bizarre!

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-29 22:38:30


^^^^I can only speculate, but while resigning might get the whistleblower out of the line of fire, it wouldn't do anything to protect the investor Thibodeau thought to be at risk.

But one could well argue that resigning would still be the honorable thing to do, even if he went on to warn the potential investor.

Ah, the theatre! If only most shows had half as much drama on stage as they do off stage!

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by jimmycurry01 2013-01-29 23:44:19


I really want to see a movie based on all of this drama.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-30 09:04:34


Oh, look. Thibodeau's defense is pushing basically the same theory I had (I mean, it's literally only a hop, skip, and a jump to my conclusion).



REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2013-01-30 09:15:41



I say "Sprecher, you got to go"

Sprecher answer "Who say so?"

I say "Marcus, Marcus Thibodeau"

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by Amalia Balash 2013-01-30 10:18:37


I can't wait for the movie or Smash storyline about this!

I do feel for the Rebecca cast and crew. Seeing the cast members sing at BC/EFA's Gypsy of the Year was poignant.

As far as Thibodeau goes, I understand the desire to warn an innocent potential investor. But I'd respect him and his warning more if he'd resigned first.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by PatrickDennis92 2013-01-30 10:25:44


I think Riedel fails to capture the essence of what actually occurred here. It's not about whether or not Thibodeau is a "bad" guy-- I'm sure he isn't. But what he did was vicious... Good people are capable of vicious acts. The investor in question obviously knew the risks of investing in a musical. He didn't "save" them money, as they were prepared to lose it anyway. Almost everyone who invests in theatre is prepared to lose their money. People invest in theatre because they want to support the arts and artists. And anyone who has 2.25m to invest is almost certain to have known what they were doing... it wasn't a sweet little old lady with her life savings.

Even if his intentions were good, he still did it with the hopes that he would never be caught, which shows a premeditated act of a malicious nature. That is neither good nor admirable. Imagine, if you will, that you were supposed to work on this show... this one solitary and selfish act took your job away... I would be furious. Thibodeau is a successful press agent; he doesn't need the weekly salary to survive. His actions showed a complete disregard for those people he was affecting.

Again, I would like to point out that I'm not saying I know the facts; I am speculating as we all are. But I would feel completely betrayed.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-30 10:32:25


"Even if his intentions were good, he still did it with the hopes that he would never be caught, which shows a premeditated act of a malicious nature."

Actually, all it shows was that he didn't want to be caught. Malice does not have to be involved. It's equally if not more likely that he feared retribution - and quite obviously, for good reason.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by PatrickDennis92 2013-01-30 10:41:54


Academically speaking, it at least shows premeditation... but alright, I'll go with it. However, what retribution could he have feared? Has anyone, and please educate me, ever heard of a casting director, press agent, general manager, company manager, actor, stage manager, or any other employee of a producer being held liable for performing the duties they were hired to do? He didn't perpetrate the fraud. He had nothing to worry about. If Ben Sprecher wants to take a risk and deal with a potential fraudulent act to fund his show, that's his own affair. His employees do not share in his liabilities.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by lovesclassics 2013-01-30 10:49:14


Actually, if the press agent knew that there was fraud and he continued to promote the show and spin stories to cover up that fraud, I believe he could be considered complicit and held liable along with others involved. He should have just resigned and released one of those vague statements that hints at but doesn't spell out his reasons for leaving. "Irreconcilable differences," or whatever. Let people make inferences from there.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-30 10:57:53


"Actually, if the press agent knew that there was fraud and he continued to promote the show and spin stories to cover up that fraud, I believe he could be considered complicit and held liable along with others involved."

Academically, exactly - but that wasn't what I meant. I meant that it was possible Thibodeau feared retribution from Sprecher for coming forward - which is precisely what has come to pass - and that's why he did it anonymously.

You seem to be taking this all very personally. May I ask why?

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by hyperbole_and_a_half 2013-01-30 11:03:54


Is someone honestly suggesting that a person who uncovered fraud should've just shut up and gone back to work instead of warning other people?

Jesus Christ, no wonder this country is over a moral and ethical barrel.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by lovesclassics 2013-01-30 11:50:53


ghostlight2, gosh. I'm not taking it personally. I just find the whole thing fascinating and bizarre.

I can certainly understand the press agent's desire to warn off investors. But you would also think that a press agent with such experience would know better than to do it the way he did.

I'm no lawyer, so I have no idea what he could or could not have done from a legal standpoint. It just seems strange to me that he chose to send anonymous emails while still working on behalf of the show.

Who knows what his correspondence with Sprecher will reveal. It just seems to me a letter of resignation stating his reasons for leaving would have been more appropriate.

I applaud his ethics in regards to his feelings about the fraud. However, wasn't his way of dealing with it, well, unethical? The irony of it all is just kind of wild.

Great TV movie material for sure!

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-30 12:15:00


So sorry for the confusion, lovesclassics. I quoting you to respond to PatrickDennis2, who does seem to me to be taking this personally.

You and I, loveclassics, are mostly in agreement. We agree that Thibodeau did act ethically, from my limited understanding of the situation. I also agree that a letter of resignation (made public, or at least with the investor cc'd) stating clear reasons for his departure - not vague ones - might have been a better choice. I can't blame him, though.

Given that Sprecher is now suing him, I can understand why Thibodeau wanted to remain anonymous. My guess is that, knowing what he knew of Sprecher's character, he assumed that Sprecher would come after him, so he tried to avoid that outcome by being anonymous.

I don't think what Thibodeau was unethical. It might not have been brave, but it was probably the smarter way to go - if he hadn't got caught.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by lovesclassics 2013-01-30 12:24:14


Thanks for the clarification, ghostlight2. These threads can get confusing!

Good distinction between "unethical" and lack of bravery. And like you say, who knows the whole story about what he was dealing with on the inside?

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-30 15:05:30


And nowhere in this thread does anyone mention any relationship between the whistleblower and the investor he warned. For all we know, they may have been close friends or longtime associates.

The Broadway community has never been a large one and, despite the righteous indignation heard here, the financing of a Broadway show is often "creative", to use the kindest possible adjective. I love (ok, not really) how Sprecher has now become Vito Corleone.

But I suspect that even more than a horse head in his bed, Thibodeau feared getting a reputation as a rat in a small industry that often relies more on "show" than "business". And I don't think his fear was unwarranted.



REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-30 15:11:05


^ So, in other words, I wasn't entirely wrong. (I still reserve the right to believe that maybe the hoax nature of the Abrams thing wasn't entirely unknown to Sprecher, but that he accepted it rather than inform the investors there was a known shady figure in their ranks that anyone with a Google search worth of info would want off the production.)

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-30 16:02:30


g.d.e.l.g.i., I don't think I ever said you were wrong. I don't pretend to know exactly what Sprecher OR Thibodeaux knew and when they knew it.

Was Sprecher trying to keep the ship moving forward while he replaced the fraudulent "non-investment"? It wouldn't surprise me. (I know he isn't stupid.)

Was doing so illegal or unethical? That I don't know. I haven't seen the limited partnership agreements, nor am I entirely sure what is considered "normal practice" on Broadway.

But there has been a lot of understandable sympathy here for the cast and crew who lost their jobs. In that light, was Sprecher wrong to try to conceal knowledge of the fraud until he could replace the money and keep everyone working? Was Thibodeaux right to blow the whistle that brought the entire enterprise down and put everyone out of work?

All of this will be hashed out in court, I presume, but the ethical waters seem murky regardless of where one looks.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-30 16:13:43


g.d.e.l.g.i., I don't think I ever said you were wrong.

Oh no, I know. I'm just proving a point to someone else. Thank you though.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by FindingNamo 2013-01-30 16:22:00




And this is what happens when The Goofy Gophers take over yet another thread.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-30 16:26:34


The Goofy Gophers aren't the worst metaphor I've ever seen for show business and those who run it.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by Taryn 2013-01-30 17:35:15


The investor in question obviously knew the risks of investing in a musical. He didn't "save" them money, as they were prepared to lose it anyway. Almost everyone who invests in theatre is prepared to lose their money. People invest in theatre because they want to support the arts and artists. And anyone who has 2.25m to invest is almost certain to have known what they were doing... it wasn't a sweet little old lady with her life savings.

There is such a huge difference between the regular risk one takes investing in a Broadway show and what happened with Rebecca. There was active conning and fraud going on in this situation. You're acting like Thibodeau was going around bad-mouthing Sprechter and spreading lies about his competence just because he didn't like him or something.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by PatrickDennis92 2013-01-30 18:09:06


I'm not acting like he did anything like that, where would you get that impression? Was it from anything specific I said?

... I'm only saying he was wrong to do what he did. And to hyperbole, I'm not saying that he was wrong to act out in accordance with his ethics, but the fact is, if Marc *KNEW* about fraud, he should have contacted the authorities. If he merely suspected that something didn't seem right, he should have discussed it with his employer... If at that point, Ben Sprecher said to him, "Nothing is wrong, everything is fine" then it is his job to, well, continue to do his job. I can't speak for the allegations of fraud and who knew what when, none of us know the specifics, I'm just saying that I personally believe Thibodeau acted outside of his duties in a gross misjudgmented act of disloyalty, and whether it was "right" of him to do it or not, I can easily imagine a court finding him to have some liability, because he admittedly used false pretenses for the purpose of sabotaging a business venture. We can argue all day about whether or not the business venture was worthwhile or who did who a favor, but when it comes down to Marc Thibodeau's actions served the purpose they intended... to derail the production by scaring away a major investor using what must have been lies (because an email from a person who doesn't exist is a lie from the beginning). It will be a difficult position to defend in court, I think.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-30 19:11:57


Well put, Patrick. IIRC, Sprecher has not been charged with committing fraud himself; so Thibodoeau is not a classic "whistle blower". Rather, he is someone who gave out proprietary information to his boss' investor.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by South Fl Marc 2013-01-30 20:50:34


I disagree totally.

Bravo Thibodoeau!

Anyone who ever deals with Ben Sprecher after this, deserves what they get.

REBECCA Producer Ben Sprecher Suing Press Agent Marc Thibodeau as 'Whisteblower' - Statement Inside + the Details of the Lawsuit
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-30 22:06:04


^^^^You disagree with what?

What Patrick posted is fact, based on the available info at this time. (I readily admit that could change with the next press release.)

How do you disagree with a fact?

Whether Thibodeau was morally right to intervene is another question. I don't think we have all the facts.

But it never occurred to me that I had the right to disclose proprietary info to my boss' potential investors or clients. Whatever you may think of Sprecher, to date he has not been charged with a crime.

Anyone who ever deals with Ben Sprecher after this, deserves what they get.

Whence comes this hatred? Is it sheer schaudenfraude?

'Cause last I heard, at worst Sprecher is accused of being too trusting and perhaps neglecting due diligence in his zeal to get his show up on Broadway. Is that really someone we want to excoriate? 'Cause frankly, NO show gets up on Broadway unless it's produced by a giant corporation or some individual producer with that kind of zeal.

Yeah, it backfired this time. But maybe next time he gets a show produced that otherwise wouldn't have had a chance.