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Reality star and so-called "Skinnygirl" Bethenny Frankel has been hit with a fat $100 million lawsuit by her former management agency, Raw Talent, a Los Angeles-based company.
At the heart of the lawsuit is Frankel's Skinnygirl Margarita line, which she sold earlier in the year for a hefty $120 million. Raw Talent is seeking 10% of the profits from the deal, and an estimated $100 million in punitive damages. The complaint alleges fraud and breach of oral contract, reports MSNBC.
According to the Skinnygirl Margarita website, the margarita mix is made out of lightly sweetened agave nectar, Blue Agave Tequila, and only packs in around 100 calories for a 4 oz. serving. The product is widely popular, which is why it raked in such a sweet deal for Frankel.
Doug Wald, co-president of Raw Talent, alleges that he helped Frankel broker the $120 million deal for Skinnygirl Margarita. He claims that he met with Frankel in May of 2008, when she was still starring on the Real Housewives of New York, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Frankel expressed an interest in launching her own reality series, and Wald says he helped arrange meetings with agents at reality star specialists APA, a talent management company.
Frankel signed with APA on August 7, 2008, and orally agreed with Wald that he would be her manager and would pay him 10% of her earnings, according to the complaint filed at Los Angeles Superior Court. According to Wald, she expressly said that the agreement would extend to any business relating to the Skinnygirl Margarita brand. The complaint also alleges she confirmed this contract through an e-mail sent the next day.
Wald also says that he helped Frankel develop her Skinnygirl Margarita brand. He introduced her to David Kanbar, a liquor industry heavyweight, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Frankel fired Wald in November 2008. She went on to sell her Skinnygirl Margarita brand for $120 million last March.
In general, oral contracts are just as enforceable as written ones. The difficulty is proving the existence of a contract, and its exact provisions.
"Relationships are about compromise. My margaritas aren't," Bethenny Frankel proclaims on the Skinnygirl Margarita website. Unfortunately, whatever relationship she had with Raw Talent sure did not end in an amicable compromise.
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