$750,000 Beef Over Talent in Hollywood
SANTA MONICA (CN) - An entertainment consultant claims in court that a social media company owes him $750,000 for his help getting celebrities to participate in its "web channels."
Haqq Islam and Entertainment Business Education sued StarClub Ltd. and Bernhard Fritsch in Superior Court, alleging breach of contract and fraud.
They are the only parties to the lawsuit, which names some celebrities, but not as parties to the complaint.
Islam, CEO of Entertainment Business Education (EBE), says in the lawsuit that he is a successful recording industry executive with a "reputation for discovering, signing and developing major recording artists."
He claims that Fritsch, StarClub's president, asked for his help getting artists, athletes and entertainers to participate in web-channels where the celebrities could "interact directly with their fans, distribute media, blog, and sell merchandise."
The complaint states: "(T)his action arises from defendants StarClub and Fritsch's fraudulent inducement of plaintiffs to draw upon plaintiffs' extremely valuable network of contacts and affiliations cultivated over the course of many years for the purpose of allowing StarClub to exploit plaintiffs' contacts and enter into lucrative web-channel agreements with premier artists and entertainers which, in turn, served as a catalyst for StarClub to raise millions of dollars in capital for its principals.
"Among other things, to induce plaintiffs to act at StarClub's behest and for its benefit, Fritsch made material representations to plaintiffs regarding the remuneration defendant StarClub would be willing to pay plaintiffs in exchange for plaintiffs' valuable services. It is now clear that at the time Fritsch made these representations and assurances, Fritsch and StarClub categorically maintained no intention of performing on such promises and never intended to adhere to the compensation model Fritsch promised plaintiffs."
Islam claims that before the defendants met him they had just one celebrity, Dwight Howard, who had agreed to participate in a web-channel.
"As such, defendants sought to exploit Haqq Islam's expertise and cultivated connections in the entertainment industry by causing Haqq Islam to convince additional established artists and celebrities to enter into web-channel agreements with StarClub," Islam says in the lawsuit.
It continues: "To incentivize Haqq Islam to draw upon his well-established connections and contacts and further place his name and reputation behind defendant StarClub's nascent brand, defendants StarClub and Fritsch expressly represented to Haqq Islam that, in the event Haqq Islam was successful in drawing upon his contacts to facilitate a celebrity signing a web-channel agreement with defendants, then defendants were willing to allocate, at a minimum, $150,000.00 per year to Haqq Islam in exchange for plaintiffs' facilitation of such an agreement between defendant StarClub and a celebrity regarding StarClub's development and operation of a web-channel pertaining to that celebrity."
Islam claims he contacted Jessica Simpson's father, who is also her manager, to present her with the StarClub concept and proposal.
"After these efforts manifested into interest on behalf of Jessica Simpson and her representatives in the StarClub interactive platform, StarClub was able to capitalize on the groundwork Haqq Islam had generated to set up a meeting directly between StarClub and Jessica Simpson's representatives, including her manager and father, Joe Simpson," according to the complaint.
It continues: "StarClub, however, precluded Haqq Islam from attending this meeting that he had directly assisted in establishing. Instead, the meeting Haqq Islam was directly responsible for orchestrating occurred solely between StarClub's executives, including Fritsch, and Jessica Simpson's representatives."
Islam claims that Simpson entered into a web-channel agreement with StarClub, but StarClub failed to give Islam any credit and did not enter into the promised consulting agreement with Islam.
Islam claims he and an associate also helped get Enrique Iglesias to sign a contract with StarClub for an Iglesias web-channel.
He claims that StarClub did give him credit for this, and agreed to pay him and his associate an upfront fee of $5,000 apiece, and consulting fees of $5,833 per month for the first year, increased to $6,250 the following year, for a total of $75,000 each.
Islam claims StarClub followed through with the payments from September 2012 until May 2013, then decreased his payments to $1,500 per month while continuing to pay his associate the agreed-upon amount.
Islam claims he is "completely ignorant as to why defendants have willfully elected to egregiously discriminate as between the two respective and identical consulting agreements, choosing to honor one such consulting agreement but not the other."
Islam claims the defendants will owe him additions consulting fees if they secure contracts with other celebrities, including Snoop Dogg, Sophia Vergara, Bruno Mars, and LL Cool J.
Islam claims the defendants owe him at least $758,666 in damages for fraud in the inducement and breach of contract.
He is represented by Michael Trauben with Singh, Singh & Trauben of Beverly Hills.
StarClub did not immediately respond to a request for comment.