Tuesday, April 23, 2024

FTX Sues Hollywood “Connector” Michael Kives for $700 Mil, Hangs with Geffen and Diller, Comes from K-Tel Records Family in Canada


EXCLUSIVE A few weeks ago, I wrote a story with a picture from entertainment mogul David Geffen‘s Instagram page. It was Geffen, his new husband, and friends including Barry Diller and Kris Kardashian celebrating the marriage at a restaurant.

Two of the men in the picture were not known to me, but quickly eagle eyed spies phoned in their names. One was former Bill Clinton associate Doug Band. In the foreground of the picture Michael Kives is beaming in the presence of so many power players. (pronounced Keev-us). I’d heard never heard of Kives, but people in LA knew his name. And they were not praising him.

Now the bankruptcy lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried‘s scandalous financial failure, FTX, are suing Kives and his partner, Bryan Baum, for $700 million. They say Bankman-Fried invested the money with Kives, a former agent at Creative Artists Agency and one time Clinton intern, and they want it back.

Today the New York Times profiles Kives, but fails to give his background. He’s from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and he comes from a famous family up there. His late uncle, Philip Kives, was the founder of K-Tel Records and other businesses. Philip got his start promoting the wacky inventions from the Popeil family — like the Veg-O-Matic and the Pocket Fisherman. Then he went into the record business, and became legendary for his compilations of hits sold on TV ans in discount stores like Korvette’s during the 80s. (The company filed for bankruptcy in 1984 and re-emerged as a new entity. These days it’s all streaming, according to their website.)

Philip Kives was also known as a huge horse breeder in Canada. His stable was called K5 Stables. Michael Kives’ company, with partner Bryan Baum, is now being sued by FTX, is called K-5 Global.

L.A. insiders who spoke to me in late April called Kives “a creep.” He’s mostly known for rubbing shoulders with celebrities. Hence, his visage, smiling widely in the foreground of a photo with Geffen and friends. He’s known Band (not pictured) since he worked for the Clinton Global Initiative. Band, by the way, was identified in The New Yorker as ex-communicated by the Clintons. Chelsea Clinton apparently hates him.

Among the celebrities Michael Kives counts as a close friend is Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo is a great actor but a poor judge of character. More than 20 years ago his best friend was Dana Giacchetto, a self described money manager who eventually went to jail for a Ponzi scheme. (He also completely invented his background including claiming he went to Harvard.) Giacchetto bilked Leo, the group Phish, super CAA agent Michael Ovitz, and others out of $14 million in 2000 ($24 million in current terms). Ovitz called him his “spiritual adviser.” Giachetto portrayed himself as bffs with John Kennedy, Jr. and artist George Condo. Years after he was released from prison, Giacchetto committed suicide in 2016.

Over the years, Leo has also been involved with the Malaysian public funds scandal (more than $4 billion was stolen from the 1MDB fund and spent by perpetrators on art, diamonds and property) put together by Leo’s pal, Jho Low. He is still also close to Helly Namad, the art dealer who served five months of a year long sentence for running a gambling operation out of his apartment in Trump Tower. (He was pardoned by Donald Trump just before he left office in 2020.)

Everything about Kives screams “Giacchetto,” only more complex and deeply embedded in Hollywood. The Geffen picture should raise a lot of red flags, especially for the people at that table. Geffen would be wise to say now that he never met Kives before, that he was Band’s guest. That Band and Kives are besties comes as no surprise. Band’s name came up on the Jeffrey Epstein flight logs a lot. Band has famously thrown Bill Clinton under the bus in interviews about Epstein.

The Times report says that Bankman-Fried “agreed to invest as much as $3 billion over three years in K5, according to the lawsuit and a version of the crypto mogul’s contract with Mr. Kives and Mr. Baum that was reviewed by The New York Times. The complaint argued that Mr. Bankman-Fried had done no meaningful due diligence and “excessively” overpaid Mr. Baum and Mr. Kives, describing the transactions as a fraudulent scheme to enrich executives.”

Kives’ second generation K5 company — far removed from the days of K-Tel — boasts an investment portfolio of 148 companies including Elon Musk‘s SpaceX and Boring Company. Kives has gotten this far by being a shrewd “connector” of celebrities like DiCaprio, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, and others. Perry sang at Kives’s star studded over the top Beverly Hills wedding.

Now, as they might say at K-Tel, the hits just keep on coming. As the FTX lawyers unravel all these business connections in their pursuit of the $700 million, we may learn a lot more about Michael Kives.

Please email me at showbiz411@gmail if you know more about Kives or Baum.

Fox News Shuffles Deck Chairs on the Titanic, Moves Laura Ingraham to 7PM, Promotes Jesse Watters to 8PM, Gutfeld Comedy at 10PM


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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