Garth Drabinsky must be a very well-behaved inmate, because the Livent co-founder and convicted fraudster was granted day parole last week after serving just over a year of his five-year sentence. Beginning November 11, Drabinsky can resume his life in the wide world, although he must live at a Toronto halfway house and is barred from owning a company or managing other people’s money. Drabinsky told the board he plans to keep a low profile, producing for film and stage and—bizarrely—lecturing at a business school. Given Drabinsky’s penchant for the spotlight, though, we’re dubious as to whether he’ll really remain under the radar. And speaking of his love of the limelight, we poured over the tearful testimony from his parole hearing and found a handful of excerpts—plus a gem from a Globe and Mail article—that suggest the theatre impresario hasn’t lost his flair for the dramatic.
• On losing his appetite in prison: “When I looked at myself in the mirror in the library, I didn’t recognize myself.…I looked like I had been on a ship coming from overseas on the worst voyage.”
• On an epiphany he had while incarcerated: “Forget about building any empires anymore. I’ve done that.”
• On how the fraud was his fault—but also not his fault: “I never directed anyone to cross over the line knowingly. I obviously did do that by the dynamic of my character—the force of my character coupled with my role in the organization.”
• On the month he spent in maximum security: “The isolation, the trauma I experienced…I hadn’t experienced anything like that since I was three years old when I was moved to isolation and quarantine when I first had polio. It affected me beyond description.”
• On a realization he made after costing investors an estimated $500 million: ”I should never have been CEO of the company….That was a mistake.”
• The Globe and Mail, on Drabinsky’s theatrics during the parole hearing: “He was in tears several times during the parole hearing, and talked at length in response to questions. Board member Carol Fletcher-Dagenais several times asked him to answer directly, to stop offering irrelevant details, and to refrain from unnecessarily mentioning names of prominent people he knows.”