Robert De Niro's Company Reportedly Sues Ex-V.P., Citing Theft, Binge-Watching Netflix At Work

The reported $6 million suit alleges the executive lived large with company funds, stole millions of frequent flyer miles, and more.

August 26, 2019
By: Mike McPadden

Photo By: Robert De Niro at the 2011 Cannes film festival [Georges Biard/Wikimedia Commons]

Photo By: Friends Actors Montage [Wikimedia Commons]

Photo By: Gourmet food [Pixabay]

Photo By: Los Angeles palm trees [Pixabay]

Photo By: Airplane taking off [Free Images]

Photo By: Waiting taxicab [Pixabay]

Photo By: Vacation [Pixabay]

Multiple Allegations Against Robert De Niro's Former Personal Assistant, Graham "Chase" Robinson

Hollywood icon Robert De Niro's company, Canal Productions, has reportedly filed a $6 million lawsuit against a former employee over accusations ranging from embezzlement to binge-watching Netflix during work hours.

According to Variety magazine, which first reported the story, the suit accuses Graham "Chase" Robinson of misappropriating funds for lavish personal trips, expensive meals, Uber rides, floral arrangements, dog-sitting services, and a Louis Vuitton handbag.

According to the complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on August 16, Canal hired Robinson in 2008 to serve as Robert De Niro's personal assistant. Robinson reportedly rose through company ranks to become vice president of production & finance. The lawsuit indicates her annual salary in 2019 was $300,000.

On April 6, the suit claims, Robinson abruptly resigned from her position as "suspicions arose" regarding "corporate sabotage," as well as her "honesty, integrity, work ethic, and motivation." Upon leaving, Robinson reportedly wrote a recommendation letter for herself, which De Niro purportedly refused to sign.

As reported by Hollywood.com, the court filing reportedly states, "This lawsuit seeks economic damages from a disloyal employee who, despite being in a trusted position, repeatedly and methodically abused her position to misappropriate her employer's funds and property for her personal gain."

Canal is reportedly seeking $3 million in damages for the value of the "misappropriated" funds and property, and another $3 million in damages for Robinson's, "disloyalty and violation of the faithless servant doctrine." [Variety] [Complex] [Daily Mail] [Hollywood]

Robinson Allegedly Binge-Watched "Friends," "Schitt's Creek” & "Arrested Development" While On The Job

The New York Post's celebrity gossip site, PageSix.com, reports the lawsuit claims Robinson rarely came into the office and "loafed during work hours, binge-watching astounding hours of TV shows on Netflix."

Specifically, Robinson is alleged to have watched 20 episodes of "Arrested Development" and 10 episodes of "Schitt's Creek" between March 25 and March 29, the week before she is said to have resigned.

Another marathon viewing accusation claims Robinson streamed 55 episodes of "Friends" between January 8 and January 11.

The lawsuit allegedly contends, "A review of Canal's Netflix account, to which she had access, indicated Robinson spent astronomical amounts of time accessing these shows, not only on weekends and holidays."

Variety quotes the complaint as stating, "Watching shows on Netflix was not in any way part of or related to the duties and responsibilities of Robinson's employment and, on information and belief, was done for her personal entertainment, amusement, and pleasure at times when she was being paid to work." [Page Six]

The Lawsuit Alleges Robinson Dined Lavishly On The Company's Dime, Running Up A $12,000 Bill At One NYC Restaurant

Over two years, according to Canal's complaint, Robinson used unauthorized company funds to charge $12,696.65 at the swank Madison Avenue eatery Paola's.

During the same period, the suit claims, Robinson spent $8,923.20 of Canal's money at Whole Foods and the high-end grocery store Dean and Deluca near her home in Manhattan's elite Carnegie Hill neighborhood.

Variety additionally reports that on one of the days Robinson is accused of binge-watching "Friends," "she ordered lunch from Caviar San Francisco and had dinner at Paola's Restaurant, charging both meals to the company card." [Newsweek]

Robinson Is Accused Of Faking Business Trips, Including One To Allegedly Benefit Charities

According to NBC News, Canal's lawsuit alleges Robinson took personal trips under the guise of doing company business.

One supposed example was a $4,000 jaunt to Los Angeles in 2018, which Robinson allegedly said she took to pick up and deliver signed coffee table books based on the classic De Niro film "Taxi Driver" for charities to auction.

The lawsuit reportedly states that the books were actually delivered after Robinson left Los Angeles and the real purpose of the trip was to attend a friend's birthday party. [NBC]

Robinson Allegedly Misappropriated Millions Of Frequent Flyer Miles

In their court filing, Canal reportedly claims Robinson misused three million of the company's frequent flyer miles, and transferred five million frequent flyer miles from Canal's American Express account to her own personal account, at an estimated value of $125,000. [Rolling Stone]

The Suit Claims Robinson Abused Company Ride Share Money, Too

According to numerous reports, Canal's lawsuit claims that, over two years, Robinson ran up more than $32,000 in unauthorized Uber and personal taxi charges to the Canal account. [Gothamist]

Robinson Is Accused Of Collecting A Pay-Out For Vacation Time She Had Allegedly Already Used — & Took More Days Off Than She Was Allowed

Canal's legal team alleges Robinson accrued 96 "unused" vacation days with pay and cashed them out for a sum "in excess of $70,000." The lawsuit claims Robinson not only took that time off but "exceeded" her allowed vacation days. [Yahoo News]