UPDATE: REBECCA Publicist Marc Thibodeau Responds to Latest Ruling

By: May. 13, 2015

As reported last night, Broadway's ever-evolving REBECCA scandal continues, with press agent Marc Thibodeau having been found liable for sending emails that caused a potential investor to pull $2.25 million from the musical, a move that forced the project to a halt.

Despite all this, the musical is now hopeful for a Spring 2016 bow, after previously saying they were aiming to debut this fall.

Thibodeau has released an extensive statement on the matter, seen below:

"I want to express my profound gratitude for those who have stuck by me through the ordeal of the past 2 ½ years. Without the support of my incredible clients, colleagues, friends and family, I know I never would have survived this. Despite the breach of contract ruling, I would like to make clear that I was not being paid by the producers when the Paul Abrams scandal broke, nor was I yet signed to an ATPAM contract. I know that there is a great deal of curiosity and intrigue with this case, and my involvement, and I have had to remain silent while this process has slowly meandered through the legal system. With today's unfortunate decision, I wanted to lay out a few simple facts and clarifications as to what actually transpired:

- I had represented the producers for four years, beginning in 2008 for a total fee of $5000, through numerous delays, including two in 2012 at the eleventh-hour. I had signed a letter of agreement in May, 2012 stating that I would go on salary and contract as of September 10, 2012, neither of which happened. While Mr. Sprecher and his attorneys have accused me of being motivated by greed and malice, clearly neither were factors here.

- Immediately after I discovered everything about Hotton and Abrams, I went to Mr. Sprecher to alert him, to help him, to protect him. I was stunned that his reaction was to ask for my silence and to say that he didn't want to discuss it any further.

- The moment I lost faith in Ben Sprecher (in late September, 2012), I made the decision to resign from the show, and was in the process of doing so prior to the email to Mr. Runsdorf.

- Only one major potential investor stepped forward based on the "death of Paul Abrams" story -- Mr. Runsdorf. I could not stand by in good conscience and allow him to potentially be victimized by this fraud.

- I had absolutely nothing to gain by contacting Mr. Runsdorf, and despite their public defamation of me, the other side never found one bit of evidence to support their outrageous theories.

My actions were those of a classic whistle-blower except that I wish I had had the courage to come forward with what I had discovered, and not hide behind anonymity. All I can say is that I was fearful of injecting myself into the story -- as a publicist, you never want that to happen -- and I was afraid of what Mr. Sprecher's reaction would be. Of course both things ended up happening, in a much worse way than if I had just had the strength to stand up as me.

I will always firmly believe that Mr. Sprecher and Ms. Forlenza came to know that Paul Abrams was not real well before the show collapsed -- I pointed them to actual evidence of that in the fake investment papers that they had been in possession of for 8 months. Yet in their own written statement to the press and investors announcing the cancellation of the show, they continued to perpetuate the reality of Abrams. The fact is they were still doing business with Hotton right up until the end, trying to secure a $1.1 million bridge loan put together by him that was essential to closing the gap caused by the Abrams fraud. But as the FBI announced in October of 2012, that loan was as unreal as Mr. Abrams himself.

In my 30th year as a Broadway press agent, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a crisis unlike any other that I had dealt with before. For the creators, the actors, and the investors of the show, I do hope their dream of seeing REBECCA on Broadway is eventually realized. For me though, it has been one long nightmare that I hope is finally nearing the end."

Lead producer Ben Sprecher's lawyer Erik Groothius told Deadline yesterday that New York State Supreme Court Justice Oing's ruling on Thibodeau "holds that as a matter of law, Thibodeau breached his agreement and that the matter of liability can decided by a jury."

Groothius went on to say that Oing did not believe Thibodeau's argument that he was only trying to protect an innocent investor and that Sprecher has the right to argue in front of a jury that Thibodeau's "actions were defamatory" and "breached his fiduciary responsibility". The judge's full decision will become available soon.

According to a release from the show's producers back in January 2014, "REBECCA's previous delay was initially the result of the fraud perpetrated by Mark Hotton (who is now serving time in jail) and then, more damagingly, the consequence of anonymous and malicious e-mails that were revealed to have been sent by the show's previous press agent Marc Thibodeau to a new investor who was replacing a major portion of Hotton's investors. Thibodeau's emails, which were sent as recently as three days before rehearsals were to begin, resulted in the new investor's abrupt withdrawal and the delay of the show in the Fall of 2012...On January 17, 2014, Thibodeau withdrew his countersuit against the musical."

Thibodeau reportedly wrote the new investor -- Laurence Runsdorf -- an email under the alias of "Sarah Finkelstein" to warn him that REBECCA's producers weren't trustworthy; Finkelstein later came out as one of several cover names Thibodeau had used to shy away potential investors.

Runsdorf's contribution could have saved the show after Hotton scammed REBECCA's producers out of $65,000 in 2012. Hotton, whose disastrous fraud scheme cost 130 people their jobs, was sentenced last fall to almost three years in federal prison and paid $68,000 in restitution to REBECCA's lead producer Ben Sprecher.

REBECCA features original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard), English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze, and direction by Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; City of Angels; Noises Off) and Francesca Zambello (Little Mermaid). Multiple Tony-nominated director/choreographer Graciela Daniele (Ragtime) will create the musical staging for the show. Scenic design is by Peter J. Davidson, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Mark McCullough, sound by Peter Fitzgerald, hair & wig design by Tom Watson and special effects by Gregory Meeh and projections by Sven Ortel. Musical direction and supervision is by Kevin Stites.

REBECCA is a spectacular new musical drawn from the classic Daphne Du Maurier novel about love and obsession reaching from beyond the grave. In this romantic thriller, Maxim de Winter brings his new wife ("I") home to his estate of Manderley. There she meets the intimidating housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who had a very special relationship with Maxim's first wife, the beautiful Rebecca, who died a year earlier in a boating accident. The young woman discovers Manderley is a house of devastating secrets, and the mystery of Rebecca may be the greatest of them all as she finds the strength to challenge Mrs. Danvers and save her marriage.

REBECCA had its world premiere in 2006 at Vereinigte Buhnen Wien in Vienna, where it played to sold-out houses for over three years. It continues with successful productions in Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, and with a scheduled opening in Copenhagen in March 2014.

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