A consultant is suing Al Gore over the recent sale of Current TV, claiming the former vice president stole his idea just to sell the struggling network to Al-Jazeera for a reported $500 million in January.
John Terenzio filed the $5 million suit on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The self-described media executive and TV producer claims in the lawsuit that he conceived of the idea for the sale and that there was a "mutual understanding that [he] would be compensated if Current TV utilized his idea to consummate a sale to Al Jazeera," according to the Hollywood Reporter
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Terenzio alleges that in July he presented "a step-by-step approach for making the sale of the liberal media outlet to Al Jazeera palatable to U.S. lawmakers, pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public."
Acting under Terenzio's direction, Richard Nanula, a principal in Colony Capital, approached Richard Blum, a member of Current TV's board of directors, because of the progressive television network's well-known financial troubles.
Terenzio claims Blum was selected as the person to relay the proposal to Gore, who founded the network in 2002 with businessman Joel Hyatt, because "he and other Current investors were concerned about the prospect of losing their shirts in the financially troubled Current."
According to the suit, Blum warned Nanula that Gore might find such a deal with Al Jazeera "politically unappealing," considering the former vice president is such a staunch environmentalist and that the news source is owned by the oil-rich, Middle Eastern state of Qatar.
Despite rejecting the idea initially, Gore eventually "had a change of heart," Terenzio's lawsuit claims.
Terenzio is suing for breach of implied agreement, and for profiting off his idea without compensating him, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Gore's decision to sell the network to Al Jazeera was met with stiff criticism
by media types who considered Gore's environmental stance hypercritical given the fact that the royal family of Qatar has gotten rich from oil.
In a Jan. 29 interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Gore responded to critics.
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"I disagree with it. I think Al Jazeera has, obviously, long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective newsgathering organization. And by the way, its climate coverage has been far more extensive and high-quality," Gore said.
Gore has not publicly responded to the lawsuit.
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