Accountant admits fudging ''Rosie'' figures. The publisher's finance chief testifies that he hid circulation losses to prevent O'Donnell from walking

By Gary Susman
Updated November 11, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Rosie O'Donnell: Dan Herrick-KPA/KEYSTONE Pictures/NewsCom

During Monday’s testimony in the trial over who killed ”Rosie” magazine, the chief financial officer of publisher Gruner & Jahr said that G&J had painted an overly rosy picture of the publication’s financial picture in order to keep the magazine afloat, and to keep Rosie O’Donnell from pulling out of the partnership. CFO Lawrence Diamond said the company decided to ”manage the financials” to hide losses from declining circulation, the Associated Press reports.

The trial, which has been taking place for the last week in a Manhattan courthouse, will decide dueling nine-figure breach of conflict claims that O’Donnell and G&J have filed against each other over the shutting down of the magazine in September 2002. According to AP, the TV talk titan had a clause in her contract allowing her to walk if ”Rosie” lost more than $4.2 million in a fiscal year. On Monday, Diamond testified that the losses were approaching that number in April 2002, prompting the bogus circulation figures. ”We did not want to shut down,” he testified. ”We thought it was in both parties’ interests to continue publishing the magazine.”

Outside the courthouse, O’Donnell declined to respond to Diamond’s testimony. ”Frankly, draw your own conclusions,” she told the New York Post.