William Morris endeavour talent superagent Ari Emanuel and his wife, Sarah, filed a $2 million lawsuit Thursday against Mark and Jill Freeman—owners of upscale Los Angeles boutiques, Jill Roberts—after the Hollywood broker claims the clothing couple misused a $600,000 investment.
Emanuel—who famously was the inspiration for the “Ari Gold” character on “Entourage” and whose clients include Michael Douglas, Sacha Baron Cohen and Aaron Sorkin—is now claiming he is the victim of “major fraud” after the Freemans used the Emanuel’s loan “as if it were their own personal piggy bank.”
It all started in 2010 when the Freemans allegedly asked the Emanuels to invest in Seaton—a “California cool” clothing store they planned to open.
According to the lawsuit, the Emanuels invested $200,000 for a 50 per cent interest in Seaton. They also agreed to loan Seaton $200,000 initially, and later agreed to a second $200,000 loan in order “to help finance . . . business operations.”
But in September, the Freemans told the Emanuels that the Seaton endeavour “simply was not profitable,” the store would be closed at the end of 2012, and their investment lost.
Emanuel then ordered an audit of Seaton’s books and “uncovered extensive evidence that the Freemans perpetrated a major fraud,” according to the suit, which also states, “The Freemans engaged in numerous acts of deceit, concealment, embezzlement, misappropriation, self-dealing and unlawful competition.”
Instead of using the Emanuel’s loan for authorised business expenses, the suit claims that the Freemans “operated Seaton as if it were their own personal piggy bank” by using the money to take trips to Europe and selling “large volumes” of Seaton merchandise at below market value to Jill Freeman’s other clothing boutique, Jill Roberts.
“As a result of the Freemans’ fraudulent, unlawful and malicious actions, Plaintiffs have been deprived of their investment and of the profits they would have received from their investment if not for the Freemans’ wrongdoing,” the lawsuit states.
And no use in trying to buy anything off the Seaton website, either, as it appears to now only be a homepage with no working links.
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