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Ad Agency Says TV Star Owes It Money

PHOENIX (CN) - A Scottsdale-based ad agency claims "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey owes it money for promoting his auto racing team and brokering a sponsorship deal. E-Image Agency says Dempsey Racing has paid it less than $20,000, despite continuing its sponsorship with a Tequila manufacturer.

E-Image says it secured Dempsey a sponsorship from El Grado Spirits, which jumped at the opportunity because "Patrick Dempsey was a big name they sought to attach to, to help them launch their Tequila," according to the complaint.

In its federal complaint, E-Image claims it was the only agency authorized to promote Dempsey's races and El Grado's Tequila sponsorship, since it brokered the deal. But it claims that El Grado brought other marketing and advertising agencies to a race in Salinas, Calif., to introduce Dempsey Racing to competing ad firms.

E-Image says that under its sponsorship deal, El Grado promised to pay it $3 a case for the first 500,000 cases of Tequila it sold, $2.25 per case for the second 500,000 cases, and $1.50 per case after 1 million cases.

El Grado also promised "A lump sum payment in the amount of $3,000,000 or 3%, whichever is greater, upon the sale of El Grado," and a "monthly retainer of $4,000 for six months from the contract date, followed by a monthly retainer of $2,000 for the life of the contract, to establish and maintain El Grado's Web presence and online marketing and viral campaigns," according to the complaint.

Dempsey Racing agreed to pay the agency 12 percent of the royalties it earned through its agreement with El Grado, and 12 percent of any money the agency raised for Dempsey Racing, including the money Dempsey Racing made from the agreement with El Grado, the complaint states.

E-Image says it created and regularly updated a racing sponsorship Web site for Dempsey Racing, "created graphics for the parties to market their products, created marketing concepts, activated races and handled the planning and execution of events, created and issued press releases, handled logistics for events, improved El Grado's Web site, created a Dempsey Racing and El Grado social network, and assisted in raising money for El Grado and Dempsey Racing."

The complaint does not state how much money E-Image believes it is owed. It seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, fraud, conspiracy, negligent misrepresentation, interference, unjust enrichment and other charges.

It is represented by Shaye Mann.

Follow @jamierossCNS
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