Weinstein bailed out in $44M settlement -- without paying a dime?

If so, the former Hollywood titan is escaping on the cheap. The Wall Street Journal reported last night that the stakeholders in civil actions against Harvey Weinstein and his bankrupt businesses have agreed in principle to an omnibus settlement that will run $44 million. If accepted, the deal with dispense with all of the lawsuits brought against Weinstein for sexual harassment and worse and will wind down the last of his business interests:

Harvey Weinstein, women who accused him of sexual misconduct, his former film studio’s board members and the New York attorney general’s office have reached a tentative $44 million deal to resolve lawsuits and compensate alleged victims of the Hollywood producer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lawyers involved in the discussions told a bankruptcy-court judge Thursday that they had reached a deal but didn’t offer specific financial terms. “For the first time, as of yesterday…we now have an economic agreement in principle that is supported by the plaintiffs, the [New York attorney general’s] office, the defendants and all of the insurers,” said Adam Harris, a lawyer for studio co-founder Bob Weinstein, to Judge Mary Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

If $44 million sounds like a windfall for Big Harv’s prey, keep reading. More than a quarter of it — $14 million — goes to the attorneys representing “Weinstein’s associates,” the co-defendants in the lawsuits. That leaves $30 million for the plaintiffs, but that class includes “alleged victims, former Weinstein Co. employees and studio creditors, and would cover the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees.” After the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees get drawn out of the $30 million and the studio creditors get their money, there may not be a lot left over for the women and employees abused by Weinstein.

But at least Weinstein has to open up his wallet, right? Nope:

The money would come from insurance policies, including those held by his former studio, the people said.

The New York Times confirmed the source of the funds and notes that it’s a far cry than what was sought:

The proposed sum is less than half of what was initially discussed as a victims’ fund as part of conversations last year between an investor group that was interested in buying assets of the Weinstein Company and Eric T. Schneiderman, who was then New York’s attorney general. That proposed deal, which fell apart at the last minute, included a victims’ fund worth up to $90 million.

Under the proposed terms of the new deal, about $30 million would go to a pool of plaintiffs that includes alleged victims, creditors of Mr. Weinstein’s former studio and some former employees, according to the people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement was private. The balance would go to legal fees for associates of Mr. Weinstein, including board members named as defendants in lawsuits.

Insurance policies would cover the $44 million if the current agreement is finalized.

The insurance companies will take a bath on behalf of Weinstein instead of Weinstein himself. And guess where the insurers will eventually get the money to pay for it? From their other customers, of course — everyone else but Big Harv.

That’s a cheap way out for Weinstein, at least on the civil cases. The settlement would have little if any impact on criminal prosecutions against Weinstein, CBS This Morning reminded viewers:

Weinstein faces five charges involving forcible sexual acts, charges which could land him in prison for life. The trial won’t start until September, thanks to a postponement issued last week, but Weinstein’s day of reckoning is coming. It just won’t be at the bank.