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Biondi Might Keep $2.3-Million Theater

November 18, 1998|JAMES BATES

Frank Biondi Jr. not only is leaving as chief executive of Universal Studios Inc. with as much as $30 million in severance. He may also get his own $2.3-million movie theater.

One of the lavish perks Biondi, who was fired Monday by Seagram Co. Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman Jr., received during his 2 1/2-year tenure as head of the entertainment company was a screening room built at his Brentwood home.

Even though screening rooms are relatively common perks among the top ranking executives in Hollywood, Seagram spent an eye-popping amount on Biondi's. All told, it equaled more than two years of Biondi's base salary.

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Universal parent Seagram spent $1.7 million related to the construction in its most recent fiscal year, and $238,828 more during the previous fiscal year. Add to that $325,180 spent so far in the current fiscal period.

The documents say Seagram will "remove the screening room and restore the property" if Biondi leaves the company, unless he exercises an option to buy the room for its depreciated value. A Seagram spokesman said no decision has been made on the room's status.

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