When “If I Did It” was published in 2007 a note on the last page of the book stated that: a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, a nonprofit organization that aims to “empower, inspire, motivate, and assist people who are victims of crime.” No word on why it took Fred and Kim Goldman 13 years to be so altruistic…
But, what if I told you that: The Goldman’s promise of a Foundation to help victims of crime was nothing more than a tall tale/public relations tool utilized to justify their publishing and profiting from the same book that months earlier they had condemned and led a successful effort to shut down? The only beneficiary of the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice was the personal bank accounts of the Goldman’s? There is absolutely no evidence to establish that the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice ever assisted anyone besides Fred and Kim Goldman?
This is the unbelievable, untold true story of how O.J. Simpson agreed to be the named author of a book featuring a hypothetical confession to the murders on June 12, 1994 and how public backlash led to the project’s cancellation. It is also the story of how the most outspoken voices against the project were able to finagle the rights to the book and publish it under the guise of altruistic promises which were never fulfilled and how a Foundation they spoke so highly of had its status revoked by both the IRS and the State of California; and as of this writing well over $100,000 in pledged donations remains unaccounted for.
According to a note on the cover of the most recent edition of “If I Did It,” the book has sold over 300,000 copies. For several weeks in 2016 the book appeared on both the New York Times list of bestselling non-fiction eBooks and the print edition appeared on the list of bestsellers in the Crime & Punishment category. As this article documents, by the most conservative estimates, the Goldman’s have personally made well over one million dollars from sales of the book.
The Idea For “If I Did It”
Most of the facts about how “If I Did It” was born came to light as a result of Fred Goldman establishing standing as a creditor in the 2006 bankruptcy of Lorraine Brooke Associates, Inc., a company that was founded by all of Mr. Simpson’s children. Goldman’s attorneys were able to convince a federal bankruptcy judge to order Mr. Simpson’s daughter Arnelle be deposed about Mr. Simpson’s book project.
Any references to Ms. Simpson’s testimony is sourced from this document, the June 13, 2007 deposition of Arnelle Simpson which you can read here:
For background, Arnelle Simpson testified that she was the President of Lorraine Brooke Associates, Inc. and that she, her two brothers (Jason and Justin) and her sister (Sydney) were equal shareholders in the company. Lorraine Brooke Associates was formed as a corporation on March 22, 2006.
In 2005, Raffles van Exel, an acquaintance of Ms. Simpson, approached her with the idea for what would become “If I Did It.” Ms. Simpson testified that she told van Exel “I said I had to think about it.”
Van Exel was persistent and in late-2005 or early-2006, Ms. Simpson agreed to speak with her father about the idea.
Ms. Simpson testified that Mr. Simpson’s reaction to the idea was “I have to think about it.” Ms. Simpson testified that, after thinking about it, her father was hesitant to the idea and had significant concerns about participating in the proposed project.
Convincing O.J.: A Family Affair
After Mr. Simpson voiced his concerns to her, Arnelle Simpson discussed the project with her two brothers and her sister. Arnelle testified that she explained the details of the project and informed each of her siblings that they could be part of the book and they could all earn money from the project. Ms. Simpson testified that after mulling it over, all of Mr. Simpson’s children agreed that their father should move forward with the proposed book opportunity.
Per Ms. Simpson’s testimony, it was only after learning that all of his children were in favor of him doing this project that Mr. Simpson finally agreed to it.
SIDEBAR: Who IS Raffles Van Exel?
Raffles Van Exel is the Forrest Gump of Hollywood scandal. Of all the notorious Hollywood scandals since the early aughts, odds are good that Raffles Van Exel was involved or somehow connected to it. Consider that this man spoke at Michael Jackson’s funeral, discovered Whitney Houston’s body and removed evidence from the scene, sold Bobbi Christina Brown’s deathbed photo to TMZ and came up with the idea for a book with O.J. Simpson as the named author which would include a fictional account of the June 12, 1994 murders.
Roger Friedman, a well-respected entertainment journalist, wrote that Van Exel is “one of Hollywood’s mysteries.”
The Book Contract
The contract for “If I Did It” was structured between HarperCollins and Lorraine Brooke Associates, Inc. The company equally owned by each of Mr. Simpson’s children was responsible for overseeing that Mr. Simpson fulfilled all of the terms of the project on-time and meeting the conditions of the contract.
The deal with structured where HarperCollins would pay Lorraine Brooke Associates, Inc. who would in-turn pay Mr. Simpson the installments of the agreed upon advance fee and the royalties (which were based on number of copies of the book sold) would also be paid to Lorraine Brooke Associates, Inc. but would be equally split among Mr. Simpson’s children.
This is the actual contract for the project which was signed on May 8, 2006 and you can read the complete contract here:
Mr. Simpson was the named author of “If I Did It,” however, as the contract stipulates, HarperCollins selected Pablo Fenjves to ghostwrite the book. Fenjves is a former “reporter” for the National Enquirer and a witness for the prosecution during Mr. Simpson’s 1995 criminal trial. Fenjves’ testified of hearing the “plaintive wail” of a dog at 10:15 pm on Sunday, June 12, 1994. He was the only witness to testify about hearing a dog barking at 10:15 pm but the prosecution relied on his remembrance over other, more credible witnesses.
Fenjves was paid $100,000 to ghostwrite “If I Did It.”
Mr. Simpson vs The Ghostwriter
Fenjves told the New York Times in August 2007 that “The whole book, the whole idea for a book, originated with O. J. Simpson and a couple of his handlers.”
While Mr. Simpson’s discussions with Fenjves were recorded, the ghostwriter does not have the recordings to support his version. FOX News reported in September 2007 that:
The ghostwriter for the now-infamous O.J. Simpson book “If I Did It” said that he and a lawyer shredded the audiotapes of the interviews he did with The Juice.
Here Fenjves speaks with the television show Extra about working with Mr. Simpson:
The Publishing Industry’s Best Kept Secret of 2006
“If I Did It” was the publishing industry’s most tightly guarded secret of 2006; a project that was sure to captivate the public.
On October 18, 2006 it was The Book Standard, a little-known website focused on ‘insider news’ about the publishing industry, which was the first to report the news of a forthcoming bombshell new book where OJ Simpson would provide a hypothetical confession to the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
The Book Standard reported that the Enquirer claimed that the deal would pay Mr. Simpson $3.5 million dollars “to describe the brutal knife attack blow-by-blow” and “the book’s publication is “only weeks away,” and that its existence has been kept highly secretive.”
The report was met with great skepticism because not only had the project not been announced by the book’s publisher, News Corporation (HarperCollins/ReganBooks), but publishing industry insiders who are ‘in the know’ about such things had not heard any rumors that such a project was even being considered. Another reason that most doubted the report in The Book Standard was that it was primarily sourced from an article in that date’s print edition of the National Enquirer.
The far more established publishing industry insider website, GalleyCat was very vocal about their skepticism of The Book Standard report. In an October 20, 2006 post, GalleyCat senior editor Ron Hogan wrote:
I have trouble believing that any publishing house large enough to pay OJ $3.5 million for something called If I Did It wouldn’t have enough employees sickened at the prospect that news of this surely would’ve leaked sooner. But what do you think?
GalleyCat editor Sarah Weinman added to the same post:
Not only do I concur with Ron’s [Hogan] statement, I have to wonder why the Book Standard would run an item about a celebrity book deal without at least checking its veracity – after all, the last time they did such a thing, we showed otherwise.
Surprisingly, There Wasn’t Much Chatter About the Rumored Book For Nearly a Month
ProQuest is an online, subscriber-only searchable database of 2,798 publications. A search for O.J. and book between the dates October 20, 2006 to November 14, 2006 yielded surprising results:
In the United States there were only a handful of articles written about the rumored project; most of those articles were small blurbs – essentially included as an aside in a larger article. All of the articles published between October 20th and November 14th used the National Enquirer article as the primary source.
The story was far more widely reported in international publications, notably The Times of London, The Telegraph and The Australian published feature-length articles.
However the early reporting sparked no outrage and failed to gain any traction.
Announcement and Outrage
When the project was officially announced on November 15, 2006, nearly a full month after The Book Standard first reported the existence of “If I Did It,” the outrage machine kicked into high gear. There was a tsunami of backlash against a book, to be published by HarperCollins with Mr. Simpson as the named author, which includes a hypothetical confession to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. FOX News personalities and the Goldman’s were the loudest voices condemning both the book and a two-night no holds barred television special titled “O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened,” scheduled to be broadcast on the FOX network on November 27 and November 29, 2006.
Frankly, it’s even more disgusting to me that a publisher would get involved and that FOX would get involved. They themselves have fallen to an unbelievably low standard in this country – that a major network would be willing to air, from the mouth of a murderer, how he would be murdering two people. And that they think so little of the various victims that they think so little of their viewers to imagine that this is the kind of trash that they think their viewers want to watch.
– Fred Goldman
“I pledge to you that I will bash this project every minute I have the opportunity to bash this project. This is an appalling idea. This is a sleazebag murdering dog; and he has played us for fools.”
– Geraldo Rivera
News Corp. Cancels “If I Did It”
Just five days later, on November 20, 2006, the public outrage campaign led by the Goldman’s caused News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch to announce that he was canceling both the book and the companion television special:
Mr. Simpson’s First Public Comments About the Project
Following the cancellation, O.J. Simpson spoke exclusively to the legendary Associated Press journalist Linda Deutsch:
Following the cancellation Fred and Kim Goldman spoke exclusively to the Early Show on CBS
No reaction to the cancellation was more vicious than Fred and Kim Goldman who spoke to Harry Smith on the CBS News morning program The Early Show on November 21, 2006:
Comments Made by the Goldman’s During this Interview
“I’m thrilled that the country got behind us and stood for what was right. And that this is not something we want to have on our televisions and our bookshelves.”
– Kim Goldman
“There was a unanimous recognition that this kind of programming, this kind of book — as Kim said a second ago — is just nothing more than the glorification of murder and doing it for money.”
– Fred Goldman
“It was bad enough that the murderer did it, but then to turn around and have Reagan books and FOX TV want to air it, and cash in on it, and glorify; it was just way too disgusting for the American public to swallow.”
– Fred Goldman
Goldman’s File Lawsuit
On December 19, 2006, Fred and Kim Goldman sued Mr. Simpson in federal court in Los Angeles, claiming Simpson fraudulently made $1 million from the “If I Did It” deal. Goldman’s lawsuit claimed that Mr. Simpson created a dummy corporation, Lorraine Brook to hide the $1 million income in order to avoid paying restitution on it.
Freezing Mr. Simpson Assets
On January 4, 2007 U.S. District Judge Manuel Real issued an order freezing his assets to prevent him from spending any of the proceeds he received as part of the News Corp. deal. Mr. Simpson was only allowed to withdraw money for “ordinary living expenses.”
Auctioning the Book Rights
On March 28, 2007 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg ruled that the rights to “If I Did It” would be auctioned on April 17 and proceeds from the sale and any subsequent book profits be turned over to the family of Ronald L. Goldman.
Goldman attorney David Cook told FOX News the auction would be held by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and that notice of the auction to be held had been sent to publishers, Hollywood studios and talent agencies.
On April 13, 2007 Lorraine Brooke Associates, the company set up by Mr. Simpson’s children to allow them to profit from the project, filed for bankruptcy. As a result of the filing the court-ordered auction of the rights to “If I Did It” was canceled. With this development, through his attorney, Fred Goldman announced that he would pursue the rights to the book in U.S. bankruptcy court.
Bankruptcy Judge Awards Goldman’s Rights to the Book
Remember that one of the loudest voices condemning News Corporation and demanding a stop to the book “If I Did It” was Fred Goldman who said the book was a shameful exploitation of his son’s murder.
Curiously, after News Corp canceled “If I Did It” the same Fred Goldman decided that he and his family were entitled to capitalize on the never released book and filed a lawsuit in US Federal Court to acquire the rights to the book in order to allow the Goldman family to sell it to help satisfy a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment won by the family against Simpson in 1997.
On June 16, 2007 federal bankruptcy judge on Friday awarded Ron Goldman’s family the rights to O.J. Simpson’s canceled book, ‘If I Did It,’ which the Goldmans want to rename ‘Confessions of a Double Murderer.’ U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol ruled that the company that owns the book’s rights, Lorraine Brooke Associates, can be considered as belonging to the former football star.
Kendrick Whittle, the attorney for Simpson’s daughter, said he had not decided yet if he would appeal. Arnelle Simpson attended the hearing but did not speak with reporters afterward. Whittle said Cristol’s ruling set a “scary” precedent: “What if she opens another business tomorrow? Are the Goldmans allowed to pursue that, too? Where do they stop?”
On June 19, 2007 the manuscript of “If I Did It” surfaced online and was published in pdf format by TMZ under the headline: OJ “Did It” Manuscript Leaked Online
It’s All About the Benjamin’s for Fred and Kim Goldman
The next day, the Goldman’s demanded that TMZ should be held in contempt for posting the manuscript. You can read their lawsuit against TMZ below.
The Associated Press reported on June 21, 2007 that at an emergency hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol said he would schedule a hearing later on whether to hold TMZ in contempt and suggested that the company – a joint venture between America Online Inc. and a Time Warner Co. subsidiary – could eventually be held financially liable for any violation.
Cristol who had ruled the prior week that the Goldman family has the rights to the book, which the family intends to rewrite and put out under the title “Confessions of a Double Murderer.” He ordered all copies of the manuscript and related materials turned over to a court-appointed trustee.
Goldman attorney Paul Battista said TMZ’s posting of the manuscript violated that order. “I can’t tell you how distraught the Goldmans are to hear that this hit the Internet for free,” Battista said.
In July 2010 the Smoking Gun revealed that the Goldman’s had filed a lawsuit against TMZ for publishing the manuscript and in June 2010 TMZ paid the Goldman’s $150,000 to settle the lawsuit.
Goldman’s Buy Rights to “If I Did It” Manuscript
On July 2, 2007 the Goldman’s reached a deal to purchase the rights to “If I Did It,” from a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. The Goldman’s attorney David Cook told the Associated Press that the book rights would be held in the name of Ron Goldman LLC.
The Goldman’s own the copyright, media rights and movie rights. They also acquired Simpson’s name, likeness, life story and right of publicity in connection with the book, according to court documents.
According to the settlement, the Goldman’s must pay the bankruptcy trustee 10 percent of the first $4 million in gross proceeds and a percentage of all proceeds beyond that.
Goldmans awarded rights to O.J. book
The Goldmans, the publisher and Sharlene Martin will all contribute portions of sales proceeds to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.
Goldman’s Announce Publisher of “If I Did It”
On August 15, 2007 the announcement was made that Beaufort Books would publish “If I Did It.”
“We will be working diligently to not only publish this book well, but to honour the memory of the victims of this terrible crime: Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson,” Beaufort Books president Eric Kampmann said in a statement.
Beaufort Books plans to publish the book on October 3 and the announcement also mentioned that:
The Goldman family, Beaufort Books and Los Angeles-based literary agent Sharlene Martin, who brokered the deal, plan to contribute portions of the proceeds to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.
Denise Brown Calls for Book Boycott
In November 2006, Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister Denise was among the most vocal voices to speak out against the initial incarnation of the project. When the Goldman’s announced that they would publish a book which they had previously condemned so harshly, Denise Brown remained consistent and used her voice to speak out against the project and the Goldman’s hypocrisy.
“We will be working diligently to not only publish this book well, but to honor the memory of the victims of this terrible crime: Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson,” Beaufort president Eric Kampmann wrote in a statement announcing the deal.
The book will be published with Simpson’s original manuscript intact and include commentary, said Michael Wright, a spokesman for Martin. The Goldmans, the publisher and Martin will contribute portions of sales proceeds to the newly formed Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice to help victims of violent crime, he said.
The debate over the publication of “If I Did It” by the Goldman’s was not limited to the Today Show, MSNBC host Chris Matthews was very passionate in his argument against the publication:
The Initial Print Run of “If I Did It”
According to GalleyCat, on August 28, 2007, Beaufort Books began to print 125,000 copies of “If I Did It” for it’s initial print run.
The early pre-orders were so good that just two-days later, on August 30, 2007, Beaufort increased the initial print run to 150,000 copies of “If I Did It.”
“If I Did It” is Released
On September 13, 2007 the Goldman family version of “If I Did It” was released. The new cover of the book informed readers that this was “The Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice Authorized Version.” The book was an immediate became a bestseller with profits going to the publisher and the Goldman family.
Oprah slams O.J. book
On September 13, 2007 Fred and Kim Goldman appeared on Oprah.
Winfrey said she won’t buy or read the book and asked the Goldmans if they don’t feel its proceeds are “blood money.”
Winfrey acknowledged that her program often promotes books and authors, yet she said, “I don’t want to be in the position to promote this book, because I, too, think it’s despicable.”
Oprah & Goldman’s Discuss Book Profits
While watching the Goldman’s interview on Oprah the staff of GalleyCat were quick to realize that something was rotten in Denmark. During the interview Oprah claimed that the Goldman’s would get just 17 cents in royalties from each copy of “If I Did It” that was sold. Neither Fred nor Kim Goldman challenged Oprah’s comment during the interview; instead Fred Goldman interjected “Pennies.” “That is a bad book deal that only gives you 17 cents,” Oprah added later in the show.
But that wasn’t the main reason I’d called Martin; what I really wanted to know was how she felt about Winfrey’s repeated assertions that the Goldmans were only receiving 17 cents on every copy of If I Did It sold, a figure which anybody with any understanding of the publishing industry would immediately recognize as absurd.
“Let’s call it what it is,” Martin told me. “I was livid. I have absolutely no idea where that 17 cents came from. The first time I heard it was today.” She went on to describe the deal she negotiated with Beaufort Books on the Goldmans’ behalf as the best of the 75 deals she’s negotiated in the last four years, including the highest backend royalty participation—”a very, very substantial deal,” in her words, “almost a partnership.”
The only possible explanation she could think of for where that number came from was the “extraordinary” number of outside parties who have claims against OJ Simpson‘s assets, from the attorneys working for the Goldmans on contingency to the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson, not to mention the percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the book earmarked for the Ron Goldman Foundation. But, she insisted, “I’m very proud of the deal I made for them.”
Earlier that afternoon, I was standing next to Beaufort president Eric Kampmann, who had described that 17 cent figure to me as “not even in the same universe as the real numbers,” as we waited in a midtown conference room for the Goldmans to come back from their search for a television that carried the Court TV channel, where Star Jones was interviewing Dominick Dunne.
The Percentages of Profits Going to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice
Fred and Kim Goldman were very, very tight-lipped on how much of the money they received from “If I Did It” would be donated to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice. In fact, they have never publicly stated how much they would donate to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, a nonprofit organization created by the Goldman’s in 2007 that aims to “empower, inspire, motivate, and assist people who are victims of crime.”
In an interview with the East Valley Tribune published on August 6, 2007 Fred Goldman “shrugs off critics in O.J. book plans and asked Fred about the proceeds from the sale of the book:
Goldman said the bulk of funds raised from publishing would go to a recently formed Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice. He added that he wasn’t sure what would happen to the rest of the money, but called what the Goldmans do with it “unimportant.”
Throughout their promotional tour the Goldman’s used the Foundation to attempt to justify the publication of the book. CBS News reported on September 17 2007:
In the meantime, Goldman says his family is using part of the proceeds from “If I Did It,” which has gone to No. 1 on the best seller list, to contribute to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.
“We hope to be able to give back to victims in this country,” he said. “They need as much help as anybody as you can imagine.”
The Goldman family, which said it published the book to satisfy a Bankruptcy Court’s order, has pledged that “a portion” of the proceeds will be donated to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, a nonprofit organization that aims to “empower, inspire, motivate, and assist people who are victims of crime,” according to a note on the book’s last page. Yet the family does not know precisely how much of the proceeds will be made available or when, and the website for the foundation does not yet offer information about grants that may be available in the future.
Asked how much of the proceeds would be given to the foundation, Kim Goldman said in an interview: “I wish I could tell you. We have no idea, as candid and frank as I can be . . . I don’t even know what my family and I earn [from the book] at the end of the day. And I’m not blowing off the question, I just don’t know and I don’t want to misrepresent.”
Speaking with the Guardian in an article published on November 14, 2007, Kim Goldman claimed that they would not financially benefit from the book’s publication:
The Goldmans say they will not benefit financially from the book. Bizarrely, however, OJ will. “We’ve agreed that 10% will go to helping him reduce his bankruptcy,” says Kim. “We had to do that to get the rights to the book.” The rest of the proceeds will go to charity, including the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation, which aims to educate people about the dangers of domestic violence and to help organisations that shelter families in crisis, and the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, which was set up to help victims of crime. “We’ve had to put up with a lot of abuse, some of it anti-semitic, suggesting that we’re trying to make money from this,” says Kim. “We’re not.”
Beaufort Books & the Book Agent’s Donation Percentage Revealed
Appearing on CNN’s Showbiz Tonight on August 15, 2007, Beaufort Books president Eric Kampmann revealed the percentage of profits which both his company and the Goldman’s agent would be donating to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice:
KAMPMANN: Well, the publishing business, as you probably know, it`s like the movie business. I have pledged, and so has the agent, five percent of the profits to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, and I know that they`re pledging money to it too.
“If I Did It” Was A Best Seller
On September 18, 2007 the New York Post reported that the just-released book was selling big:
The first 150,000 copies of Simpson’s “If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer” racked up killer sales, including 16,000 from Amazon.com alone and 5,000 at Borders Books stores around the country, according to the publisher.
“This is just an amazing congruence of events that has brought O.J. Simpson back into being a headliner here,” said Eric Kampmann, president of Beaufort Books, publisher of the Simpson tome. “We are out of the first printing and we reordering 50,000, which is a conservative number.”
On September 27, 2007 Reuters reported that for the week ending September 22 “If I Did It” hit No. 2 on the New York Times best-sellers list for non-fiction, topping former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s book “Giving.” Equally impressive is that for the week ending September 15, after just two days of sales, “If I Did It” ranked number 3 on the New York Times best-sellers list for non-fiction.
The best-seller listings do not include any sales figures, but Beaufort, an independent New York-based publishing house, has already printed 200,000 copies and plans to print more next week, spokesman Michael Wright told Reuters.
On October 18, 2007 The Chicago Tribune reported:
The book, which was wrested away from Simpson by the family of Ron Goldman in a bankruptcy court proceeding and published in September, has sold 68,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of U.S. book sales. Eric Kampmann, of Beaufort Books, who published the title, suggests that the actual sales figure might be a lot higher, more in the range of 100,000 to 120,000 copies, based on his company’s internal data.
A December 26, 2007 report by the Bergen County Record noted that “If I Did It”:
Had Nielsen numbers comparable to such high-profile releases as former CIA director George Tenet’s “At the Center of the Storm” and Alice Sebold’s “The Almost Moon,” her first novel since the bestseller “The Lovely Bones.”
It outsold books by Jenna Bush (62,000), Lynne Cheney (9,000), National Book Award for fiction winner Denis Johnson (34,000), Man Booker Prize winner Anne Enright (34,000) and perennial bestseller Jimmy Carter (16,000).
For several weeks in 2016 “If I Did It” appeared on the New York Times list of bestselling non-fiction eBooks and the print edition appeared on the New York Times list of bestsellers in the Crime & Punishment Category.
“If I Did It” The Profits and the Missing Donations
She went on to describe the deal she negotiated with Beaufort Books on the Goldmans’ behalf as the best of the 75 deals she’s negotiated in the last four years, including the highest backend royalty participation—”a very, very substantial deal,” in her words, “almost a partnership.”
In lieu of an advance (up-front payment), the Goldman’s opted to structure a deal where they would receive a higher percentage royalty for each book sold. Their agent, Sharlene Martin, said the deal she negotiated for “If I Did It,” was the best of the 75 deals she’s negotiated in the last four years, including the highest backend royalty participation—”a very, very substantial deal,” in her words, “almost a partnership.”
The Deal Between Beaufort and Goldman’s
Almost a partnership would suggest a deal where of the 50% which goes to the publisher, Beaufort earned 55% and the Goldman’s 45%. However, we have opted to use more conservative percentages for our analysis – with Beaufort receiving 65% and the Goldman’s 35%.
If I Did It” Sales Figures
The cover of the newest edition of “If I Did It” boasts that over 300,000 copies of the book have been sold.
We know that on Beaufort ordered a second printing of “If I Did It” in late-September 2007. The Associated Press reported on September 30, 2007:
The book, which came out last week and ranked No. 2 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com, now has 200,000 copies in print.
- We know that additional printings have been done since 2007 and that “If I Did It” was later published as an eBook.
Of those 300,000 books that have been sold, more than 200,000 sold were hardcover editions.
Book Profit Payout Model
News Corp, the parent company of HarperCollins included in an investor presentation this slide which breaks down the model that the company uses to distribute revenue from each book sold:
Writer Nathan Bransford shared the following revenue breakdown on his website in 2009 (two years after the Goldman’s first published “If I Did It”):
It is important to note that the two models are remarkably similar.
The Hard Numbers – An Analysis of “If I Did It” Revenue
Using the publishing revenue breakdowns by News Corp and Nathan Branford (which are remarkably similar), and adjusting the percentages for Sharlene Martin’s public comments of “almost a partnership” using the most conservative publisher-author percentage split, the following is the revenue breakdown per book sold:
The cover price for “If I Did It” was $24.95
$12.48 to the bookseller (50%)
$12.47 to be split by the publisher, author and agent.
$8.10 to publisher (65%)
$4.36 to be split between Goldman’s & their agent (35%)
$3.71 to Goldman’s ($4.36 minus 15% to agent)
$0.65 to agent (15% of $4.36)
Profits to Each Party
More than 200,000 hardcover copies of “If I Did It” were sold. Let’s examine the profits each received in total for 200,000 sales:
Beaufort Books: $1,620,000
Note: We have not included over 100,000 copies that have been sold in these figures.
How Much Did the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice Receive From Publisher and Agent?
Remember that although the Goldman’s have never even hinted at the percentage of donations that they would give to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice, Beaufort Books President Eric Kampmann told CNN on August 15, 2007 that:
I have pledged, and so has the agent, five percent of the profits to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice
Therefore, Beaufort Books should have donated more than $81,000 to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.
The Goldman’s agent should have donated more than $6,500 to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice.
The amount of the Goldman’s pledged donation to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice is unknown.
The Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice and the IRS
However, not including the Goldman’s pledged donation or any donations that were sent in by the public, the donations to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice from both Beaufort Books and their literary agent would place the tax exempt foundation well over the minimum threshold (which was $25,000 prior to 2010) that the law requires an organization to file IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, IRS Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.
The IRS and the State of California revoked the tax exempt status of the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice in 2011 due to the fact that the organization never filed their legally required tax documents. These documents allow the IRS and the general public to evaluate a nonprofit’s operations; it includes information on the nonprofit’s mission, programs, sources of revenue, salaries, details how donations are spent and any grants the foundation made.
The fact that the Goldman’s never filed these documents and that the Foundation, which according to the New York Times, was “set up to help victims of violent crime and their families” has never done anything publicly known to achieve that promise; a comment that Fred Goldman made about News Corp in 2006 perfectly describes his family’s own actions “They themselves have fallen to an unbelievably low standard in this country”
This also raises other, far more troubling questions:
- Was the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice simply a “slush fund” used exclusively by the Goldman’s to fuel their lifestyle?
- Were the only “victims” who benefited from the lucrative donations made to the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice the Goldman family?
We invite Fred or Kim Goldman to answer these questions about their unfulfilled promises regarding the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice and over one hundred thousand dollars in donations to the Foundation which have never been accounted for.
The public is entitled to understand why the Goldman’s are so anxious to file lawsuits against any entity impeding their ability to profit but refused to fulfill the legally required financial documentation of a non-profit organization which was named in the memory of Ron Goldman.
PDF Documents Included In This Article:
- “If I Did It” Book Contract.
- Goldman lawsuit filed regarding “If I Did It.” December 19, 2006
- Goldman’s Filing for Standing in Goldman Lorraine_Brooke Associates Bankruptcy: May 30, 2007.
- Deposition of Arnelle Simpson. June 13, 2007.
- Goldman’s Lawsuit Against TMZ June 20, 2007