Monday, June 17, 2024

Friars Club, Once Legendary, Now Desperate, Blames This Column for It Woes in Letter to Remaining Members


The poor Friars Club. Once legendary, they are now desperate. One of the Club’s leaders, Marvin Scott, erstwhile sometime anchor on New York’s Channel 11, send the remaining Friars a letter today blaming me for their problems.

That letter, and $2.50, will get you on the subway.

Scott is mad about a story I wrote last week about the continuing internal scuffles at what’s left of the Club. He said my article was “fraught with inaccuracies.” What Marv doesn’t say is that before I wrote the article I emailed him and asked him to call me. It was 3:31pm on a Sunday. I was just sitting around, hoping to talk to him. But Marvin didn’t want to talk to me. He replied: “HI Roger….I’m in the country upstate NY no cell service….will call you when get back to city late tomorrow.”

Hmmmmm…What part of upstate doesn’t have cell service? Well, he had his chance. He never called, or emailed again. Now he’s trying to save his bacon with the board. But his bacon his cooked, it’s gristle. (And he ever does say what those inaccuracies were on my part, and never lodged a complaint to me.)

Nothing in Marvin Scott’s letter is correct. But members of the Friars Club, which is like the Titanic after Celine Dion sang, should especially look at the lie he tells at the bottom. In fact, the Club was sued their longtime receptionist Rehanna Almestica for sexual harassment. She sued the club and Bruce Charet, who for some reason Marvin Scott is still protecting. There was a large six figure settlement. If the case had no merit, the Friars’ insurance company would not have paid Almestica. And this was before #MeToo. Frankly, if I were Almestica I’d go back to the judge who approved the settlement and ask for her NDA to be lifted. Everyone’s doing it now.

The Friars are liars. They have wrecked their Club, its legacy, finances. It’s a mess. If inside dining is ever restored, I’m pretty sure they will have trouble getting even D list celebrities to cross their threshold. They’ve pissed all over the memories of Alan King, Joan Rivers, Jerry Lewis, and the great comics who once did call the place home.

Anyway, here’s Marvin’s letter, which he signed “Prior Marvin Scott.” I don’t if that means he’s the prior Marvin Scott, as in before this one, or he’s from the Book of Mormon. Hello, hello, hello.

This letter responds to concerns expressed by some of you over the recent articles about the Club that appeared in the online SHOWBIZ 411. The articles are fraught with inaccuracies, and contain a reprint of Michael Gyure’s self-serving smear campaign that was scantily clad as a “letter” to the Board of Governors.

Let me address a few of the major points. Michael, our Executive Director, was terminated for cause by unanimous vote. Efforts to part ways amicably were not successful. Instead, Michael dispatched his “letter” and then ran for cover by initiating a legal action. It is wrong for me to use this opportunity to lay out the details, our defenses, and possible claims against Michael. This would include recovery of the legal fees we must expend to defend against his claims. To give a general flavor, in recent months Michael was found to be circumventing directives of the Executive Committee and Board of Governors, and specifically those tied to the Club’s financial affairs. As mentioned above, the decision to remove him was unanimous.

I do want to provide some clarity on our position regarding two of the financial items he mentions. Mind you that Michael’s accounts, which are materially wrong, are intended to distract you from the reason his employment ended. In other words, rather than addressing and disputing the “cause” for his termination, Michael’s letter instead tries to draw attention away from himself by throwing his voice. Here is what I mean. Michael makes noises about the $9 million loan taken by the Club. Contrary to what he wrote, there was no other comparable offer that had “better” terms. In fact, the terms of the other offer were viewed as detrimental to the Club’s interests and rejected by the Executive Committee. The terms of both loans were reviewed and discussed by the Executive Committee which voted unanimously to obtain the $9 million loan.

Similarly perplexing is Michael’s feigned alarm that our Treasurer, Susan Cronin, promoted the $9 million loan so as to benefit her former domestic partner through payment of a “referral fee” from the loan broker. There was nothing underhanded here. The relationship had been disclosed in correspondence and was reflected in the closing statement. Nothing was hidden and there was nothing improper about this transaction. Michael’s attack aimed at Susan is entirely unwarranted. Susan has performed admirably and is to be commended, not chastised.

Finally, I would like to put to rest the beyond well-trodden assertions about a past legal settlement with a former receptionist. Contrary to whatever rumors may still be circulating, neither the Club nor any of its officers were found to have violated any law, nor did they admit any liability. The matter was settled through the Club’s insurance carrier for an amount that reflected good business judgment. Rumors about the settlement amount are false.

Please give some trust and patience to your new Executive Committee and Board of Governors as we work to get the Friars Club up and running again. We envision a renaissance that will appeal to our existing members and prove to be an attraction for new ones. We see a new day and a brighter future for our legendary club. Stay tuned and be smart, informed, and selective about what you believe.

Friarly yours,

Prior Marvin Scott

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News