By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Limato’s legal pit bulls are claiming that ICM lied to him and violated his deal when the tenpercentery made a reputedly “secret pact” during the Broder merger to give Silbermann the ICM presidency, and thus force out Limato. “ICM made a deal with the devil when they took over Broder,” a source told me. “Think about it: Everyone wanted to buy Broder Kurland, and CAA wanted them desperately. But Broder goes with ICM. Why? Because Chris knew he’d be in charge.” But ICM says the notion of a secret pact is “inflammatory and bullshit legal rhetoric.” As one agency insider told me: “Silbermann came into ICM as co-president with the understanding that he could learn from Ed and be a partner with him and Jeff. Chris met with Ed before anyone ever did the deal. There was never any secrecy about Chris’ position. We didn’t seek to harm Ed.”
Limato also is challenging the three-year non-compete clause in his ICM contract that may not be legal in California. “That’s slavery,” a source close to the agent told me. “He can’t go to work anywhere else, even as a manager or agent. They believe they can force him into retirement and keep all his clients. That was their big plan. But that’s not going to happen.” ICM believes Limato should live up to the tenets of his contract.
Still, it’s the end of an era, since Limato has been at ICM for most of his 40 years in show biz. “I love the company. But, sometimes, love sours,” he’s told friends. He won’t even consider retiring. “I want to work for many years, and I want to work as an agent. I just simply can’t work at ICM anymore.”
ICM agrees. “Ed needs to move on,” an insider there said.
My educated guess is that Limato will decide to become a manager as the easiest way to get around that non-compete clause. Mel Gibson, for instance, wants to get back to work as an actor, so that means major bucks for Limato. The disadvantage of going to another agency for Ed is that it would mean less money, fewer perks and no management role, which is exactly what ICM was offering him. As one ex-colleague of his e-mailed me, “I’d take the devil I do know rather than the devil I don’t.” Problem is, all concerned are currently ensconced in hell.
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