The developer of a six-story office building in Beverly Hills is suing Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor for allegedly walking away from a lease. The high-power company (its client roster is an A-to-Z of A-list actors) appears to be abandoning the location.
WME's problem, according to the Beverly Hills Courier, is that a competitor, the Gersh Agency, has since moved in next door to the prospective HQ, in a Bank of America building owned by the same landlord, George Comfort & Sons. Among the many uncomfortable scenarios this presents, a WME source argues, is that the agents would share valets and a parking lot on the property at 231-265 North Beverly Dr. This, the WME rep states, violates terms of the lease.
The owner of the building, which is under construction and scheduled to open next year, begs to differ. “Under no scenario does WME have the right to walk away from this deal,” Michael Federman, attorney for George Comfort & Sons, told the Courier. “There is no 'loophole' or other excuse that WME can use to circumvent the legal agreements made by Jim Wiatt and others. The lease is in full force and effect and construction of the building is ahead of schedule …”
WME is headed by the ultimate Hollywood suit, Ari Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, inspiration for the Ari Gold character on HBO's Entourage. He's not a guy we'd want to mess with, but a deal's a deal. Or is it? Stay tuned.