Les Moonves and Paramount to Pay $9.75 Million for Sexual Misconduct

Aha! I had been wondering recently what happened to Les Moonves. Until being “outed” by the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, he was a “God” of the entertainment industry, in the position of tremendous power to influence careers. Also to create good entertainment and help people make the best decisions for their higher good. Instead, he took advantage of that power to pressure women into giving him sexual favors. Les Moonves and Paramount to Pay $9.75 Million for Sexual Misconduct

He must have felt like he was safe to do so. Instead, like so many others who had the same, false sense of entitlement and imperiousness, he now joins them in a life of dishonor. They include politicians, doctors, coaches, Harvard professors and others, all who thought they had some kind of protective shield from discovery. In some cases, they appeared to be right for what seemed like a long period of time. Until that is, they were revealed for the villain they were. That question of “the time it takes,” is the great conundrum to unravel in these matters. More about that in the future.


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Les Moonves and Paramount to Pay $9.75 Million in State Case Tied to Sexual Misconduct

The New York attorney general’s office found that CBS, whose parent company is now Paramount, concealed allegations about its former chief executive from investors.

Les Moonves stepped down as CBS chief executive in September 2018 after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Credit…Evan Agostini/Invision, via Evan Agostini/Invision/Ap

Paramount, the parent company of CBS, and the network’s former chief executive Leslie Moonves agreed to pay $9.75 million after a state investigation found that the network and its senior leadership had concealed accusations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Moonves and, in the case of one executive, engaged in insider trading related to the allegations.

Paramount said it would pay $7.25 million into a settlement fund as part of the deal. Mr. Moonves will pay $2.5 million. Separately, Paramount has agreed to pay $14.75 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit related to the claims.

Paramount confirmed in a statement that it had reached a resolution with the New York attorney general’s office without admitting wrongdoing or liability.

“The matter involved alleged misconduct by CBS’s former C.E.O., who was terminated for cause in 2018, and does not relate in any way to the current company,” the statement read.

Mr. Moonves stepped down from CBS in September 2018 after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct in one of the highest-profile cases of the #MeToo movement. He has denied allegations of wrongdoing. A lawyer for Mr. Moonves did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The New York attorney general’s office said in a news release that its investigation had found that the company’s leadership knew about the allegations against Mr. Moonves and concealed them for months before they became public.

“As a publicly traded company, CBS failed its most basic duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investors,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

The attorney general’s investigation found that a captain in the Los Angeles Police Department informed a CBS employee in November 2017 that the department had received a sexual assault complaint against Mr. Moonves. The captain worked with CBS for months as the company tried to keep the complaint from being reported by the news media, the New York attorney general’s office said.

In one text message included in the attorney general’s report, the unidentified police captain told a CBS employee and Mr. Moonves’s personal lawyer that they would be the “first and only point of contact” regarding the investigation. The message also said an investigating officer would “admonish” an accuser not to speak with reporters.

In a statement, the Los Angeles Police Department said it had recently learned of the captain’s actions from the New York attorney general, adding that it had begun its own investigation into the retired officer’s conduct.

“What is most appalling is the alleged breach of trust of a victim of sexual assault, who is among the most vulnerable, by a member of the L.A.P.D.,” the department’s chief, Michel Moore, said in a statement. “This erodes the public trust and is not reflective of our values as an organization.”

In June 2018, CBS authorized Gil Schwartz, then CBS’s chief communications officer, to sell millions of dollars’ worth of the company’s stock, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Ms. James said the action constituted insider trading because Mr. Schwartz had known about the accusations against Mr. Moonves, which could potentially sink the company’s stock price. Mr. Schwartz died in 2020.

Mr. Moonves’s departure marked a stunning reversal for an executive who was credited with turning CBS into television’s most-watched network. But he had been under intense pressure since July 2018, when The New Yorker published an article by the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow in which six women accused Mr. Moonves of sexual harassment. The magazine soon published another article by Mr. Farrow in which six more women detailed claims against Mr. Moonves.

In December 2018, the company officially said Mr. Moonves was fired, citing “willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract.”

Rebecca Robbins is a business reporter covering the pharmaceutical industry. She joined The Times in 2020 and has been reporting on health and medicine since 2015. @RebeccaDRobbins

Benjamin Mullin is a media reporter for The Times, covering the major companies behind news and entertainment. @benmullin

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Les Moonves and Paramount to Pay $9.75 Million for Sexual Misconduct

Les Moonves and Paramount to Pay $9.75 Million for Sexual Misconduct

…And here is a genuine story about how even minimal effort to bring comfort to another human can result in outsized and wonderful results. How different the world might seem to many if that kind of true effort actually ran wild! It is a thought worth considering. It is also a siren call to each of us!

New research shows small gestures matter even more than we may think.

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward


For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.