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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Oksana Baiul Says William Morris Owes Her Big

(CN) - The talent agency William Morris tried to steal the earnings of Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Oksana Baiul through a "criminal enterprise," she claims in New York, seeking more than $400 million.

Baiul had sued William Morris Endeavor Entertainment last year in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming the agency had cheated her of millions in earnings, royalties and residuals after signing her when she was a minor and did not understand English.

Now, in the Manhattan case, Baiul adds violation of federal anti-racketeering law to her list of claims, accusing William Morris and other individuals and entities of transferring and laundering her money.

William Morris signed Baiul in 1994 when she was 16 years old, and renewed the agreement three years later in 1997. The skater says that when she entered into the contracts, she could not read or speak English.

She only became aware of the agency's alleged shenanigans when she signed with a new business manager more than a decade later, according to her complaint.

The manager allegedly discovered that, while William Morris had collected millions of dollars on her behalf, the agency had failed to go after fees she was owed, and had executed contracts to transfer some of her earnings to Olympic Champions and Ukrainian Financial Group, both of which she also named as defendants.

Baiul says the defendants stole more than $56 million in earnings from the skater, transferring the money in the United States and abroad.

William Morris failed to account for $150,000 from a line of jewelry, and a $100,000 advance and royalties with Sony for merchandising, as well as earnings from television specials, including "Nutcracker on Ice" and "Wizard of Oz on Ice," and books, an infomercial, and other film and television contracts, according to the complaint.

In the same year Baiul signed for William Morris, Olympic Champions and Ukrainian Financial Group allegedly brought her from the Ukraine to the U.S. to train at the International Training Center in Connecticut.

A principal of Olympic Champions then confiscated Baiul's passport "as a means to control" her, according to the complaint. She says she was neither compensated nor given an ownership stake in the state-of-the art training facility, where she was part of the coaching staff.

Baiul was a champion in ladies' figure skating singles at the 17th Winter Olympics in 1994.

The lawsuit names several also names as defendants several William Morris agents, accountants, the Screen Actors Guild, and other individuals and entities.

She is represented by Raymond Markovich of West Hollywood.

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