Former Vice-President Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera for fraud, accusing the network of withholding “tens of millions of dollars” owed to Gore and a partner, according to a statement from Gore’s attorney, as reported by The New York Times.
Gore and Joel Hyatt owned Current TV and sold it in January, 2013 to Al Jazeera for $500 million. Gore reportedly pocketed $100 million from the sale.
The fraud lawsuit alleges that Al Jazeera has refused to release millions owed to selling shareholders. The money is in an escrow account, Gore alleges in his suit.
“Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago. We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current’s former shareholders,” said Gore’s attorney, David Boies. Mr. Boies represented Gore following the controversial 2000 Presidential election.
When Al Jazeera purchased Current TV, the network reached approximately 40 million households. Today, although its viewership is a paltry 17,000, it is available in 60 million American households. By comparison, Fox News captures 1.7 million viewers during prime time, MSNBC reaches 626,000, and CNN comes into 488,000 homes, according to recent Nielsen rankings.
Gore filed his suit, along with Mr. Hyatt, in the Delaware Court of Chancery in Wilmington. The complaint has been sealed. Gore’s attorney, Mr. Boies, is petitioning the court to unseal the complaint.