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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘Apprentice’ Spinoff Winner Wants Her Money

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A British woman who won a United Arab Emirates-set version of "The Apprentice," claims her co-contestant refused to hand over her share of the $1 million prize.

Hannah Dodkin sued Richard Best in Federal Court. They are the only parties to the complaint.

Dodkin claims Best reneged on an agreement to start a joint business venture with the money, and handed a portion of the prize to a charity chosen by the " 'Donald Trump' figure" who hosted the show. She says Best kept the rest of the money for himself.

"Richard Best has breached the contract between Hannah Dodkin and Richard Best by effectively repudiating the contract through his refusal to divide the game winning prize money with Hannah Dodkin and refusal to pursue the agreed upon business venture between the two," the complaint states.

Dodkin says she traveled to London in late 2007 to audition for the show, sponsored by Hydra Properties, of which the host, Sulaiman Al Fahim, is also CEO.

"Mr. Fahim apparently acted as the 'Donald Trump' figure of the TV show," the complaint states.

Dodkin's attorney Joseph Shemaria told Courthouse News in an email that the "kingpin" behind the copycat show is Highness Sheikh Tahnoon.

"He was one who commissioned and paid for everything in connection with the Hydra Executives TV show," Shemaria said.

"Mr. Richard Best has steadfastly refused to honor his commitments and word in the signed March 31, 2009 contract that quite clearly calls for an equal 50-50 split. Mr. Best has since stood firm in not only refusing Ms. Dodkin her fair share of the game winning prize-money, but as well as refusing to pursue a joint business venture for an architectural and interior design company with Ms. Dodkin, as explicitly agreed," Shemaria added.

The complaint states: "Around February of 2008, plaintiff and eight other UK contestants fly to Abu Dhabi and meet eight U.S. contestants at Abu Dhabi airport.

"Around March of 2008, filming of the show begins, with one contestant eliminated per weekly episode. In May of 2008, plaintiff is eliminated from the show. However, in March of 2009, plaintiff is invited back along with another previously eliminated contestant to be in the final episode alongside the two finalists (Richard Best and Stephen Rumney). Host, Sulaiman Al Fahim, informs the contestants, to 'go after the money and get the finalists to do your business plan, not their own.' [Parentheses in complaint.]

"Richard Best and Hannah Dodkin formed the winning team. They drafted and signed a contract on March 31, 2009. They agreed to share the winning prize 50/50 and also to embark on a business venture with each serving as an equal partner. ...

"Around August of 2009, without Ms. Dodkin's knowledge, Sulaiman Al Fahim meets with Richard Best in Los Angeles. Mr. Fahim gives Mr. Best 10 percent of the $1 million prize money, with the caveat that Mr. Best donate the money to a charity for which Sulaiman Al Fahim is the Ambassador."

Dodkin said that in January 2010, his Highness Shiekh Tahnoon gave Best the $1 million in prize money. Best then told her that he would not share any of it.

Dodkin seeks damages for breach of contract.

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