SAG interim national executive director David White revised a statement to TheWrap on Friday over whether he revealed his connection to a lawyer accused of massive fraud, Marc Dreier, to the guild’s board.
In response to questions from TheWrap about the connection, which is stated in SEC filings freezing Dreier’s assets, White stated Thursday that he had responded “openly to questions asked about ESG and its investor, Marc Dreier, during the most recent Hollywood Board meeting.”
But on Friday he sent a new statement changing his mind: “I have had numerous discussions with board members and others on both coasts about my former business, ESG, including discussions specifically about ESG’s investor, Marc Dreier. However, during the extensive Q&A period at a recent Hollywood board meeting, I did not directly refer to Mr. Dreier.
White is currently in New York negotiating the union’s commercials contract.
Dreier is under house arrest in New York after being accused of perpetrating fraud worth as much as $380 million on his victims. White’s business has shut down as a result, but his association does not mean that he is implicated in any alleged fraud.
The new national executive director changed his statement after SAG first VP and Membership First spokeswoman Anne-Marie Johnson told TheWrap that she did not recall White’s mentioning Dreier in that meeting.
According to Johnson, the board members were first informed that Dreier invested in White’s company Entertainment Strategies Group during an executive session last Saturday. ESG closed down soon after Dreier was charged with masterminding a $380 million fraud scheme.
“I was concerned with his statement that he disclosed his relationship with Dreier, and I didn’t remember it,” Johnson said. “As chairwoman of the Hollywood board, I took it upon myself to look over the minutes of the last Hollywood board meeting twice and there is no mention from Mr. White about Mr. Dreier.”
“This is not a witch hunt. It’s important to make the record straight,” she added.
White added on Friday: "I fully appreciate that some may still have questions they want to ask about ESG and I intend to be open and proactive in addressing any questions, particularly those posed by SAG board members.”
Meanwhile, SAG member Matt Mulhern has posteda provocative video in which he proposes live streaming SAG board meetings.
“Membership should have complete, fair, unfettered access to the doing of our business. We are paying for these meetings,” Mulhern says in the video. “Secrecy breeds paranoia and I think that paranoia breeds divisiveness. The Screen Actors Guild needs to move forward.”
Mulhern’s plea for more transparency also includes paying SAG officers — such as the president and vice presidents — and instituting electronic voting.
One has to wonder if White’s second statement would have been necessary if the meeting had been available for all members to watch on the Internet.
Read also: TheWrap investigates: Why didn’t the board vet the new executive director, whose consulting company was shut down because of its ties to Marc Dreier, a lawyer accused of a $380 million hedge fund scheme?