Al-Jazeera, which purchased Current TV from Al Gore and his associates for a reported $500 million in 2013, is accusing the former vice president and one of his partners of misrepresenting the condition of contracts and said they looking for a “windfall.” The accusations came in response to a lawsuit filed by Gore and Joel Hyatt that charged Al-Jazeera with trying “to give itself a discount on the purchase price,” Courthouse News reported.
At issue are distribution contracts that would put Al-Jazeera’s television network on cable and satellite systems throughout the U.S. Al-Jazeera alleged it was assured all distribution contracts were “in compliance” at the time of the sale, but later discovered a number had been terminated. It was especially upset about a lack of agreement with Time Warner Cable Inc. Agreements with AT&T Inc., DirecTV and other system operators also were purportedly not in compliance.
“As they were desperately negotiating to sell the network to Al-Jazeera, Gore and Hyatt gloated to each other about the ‘windfall’ they were to receive from the sale,” Al-Jazeera said in a legal response filed Friday.
Al-Jazeera sought indemnification of $65 million, triggering the Gore suit, which Al-Jazeera described as “rambling” and “largely incomprehensible.” The Gore suit alleged Al-Jazeera made a number of disastrous decisions with pay-TV operators, eroding the channel’s value, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“It contains outright falsehoods, including fraud and bad-faith claims as well as the false allegation that Gore and Hyatt had ‘serious reservations’ about selling their defunct company to Al-Jazeera,” the media company’s response said.
David Bois, an attorney representing Gore and Hyatt, called Al-Jazeera’s allegations false, saying the Qatari satellite-news channel tried to use escrow funds improperly to pay distributors.
“Given that Qatar’s Al-Jazeera has now gone from a news organization that had been seeking to prevent news contained in the legal filings from being made public to a news organization that is now fabricating news, is it any wonder that the channel is now failing to grow an audience?” asked Christopher Lehane, a representative of Gore and Hyatt. “News is about trust, and their filing, which we can demonstrably prove is built on factual misrepresentation and contains outright falsehoods, will further degrade whatever levels of trust Qatar’s Al-Jazeera has as a respectable news organization in the U.S.”