August 04, 2011 10:44am PT by Matthew Belloni
Ex-UTA Client Files $10 Million Suit; Alleges Improper Personal Relationship (Exclusive)
A reality TV producer has filed a bombshell lawsuit including salacious accusations that UTA and one of its top agents convinced him to quit a high-paying job and take a lesser position without disclosing a professional and personal conflict of interest.
Scott Einziger, whose credits include CBS' The Amazing Race and Big Brother, filed suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking more than $10 million from UTA and reality agent Michael Camacho for allegedly steering him into an “unfavorable” job that helped another UTA client, which paid the agency a rich packaging fee and whose top executive was allegedly involved in a "serious personal relationship" with Camacho.
Reached in his office, Camacho referred the call to UTA litigator Bryan Freedman, who tells THR:
"UTA and Michael Camacho fully deny the malicious allegations contained in this lawsuit, which not only makes baseless assertions in a blatant attempt to extort payment, but, incredibly, also seeks to reward Mr. Einziger for career difficulties he apparently attributes to anyone but himself. UTA and Michael Camacho will vigorously defend themselves against this meritless lawsuit."
Einziger says he was employed as an executive producer on Big Brother for Seasons 10 and 11 and received an offer to return to the hit show for Season 12 with the potential to become the showrunner. But Einziger says UTA and Camacho instead encouraged him to take a job with a new company being formed under the RelativityReal banner, which was to be operated by former Oprah producer turned reality executive Ellen Rakieten. While UTA would only receive a standard 10 percent commission from Einziger if he took the Big Brother job, "UTA and Camacho represented RelativityReal as a packaging agent and stood to obtain lucrative fees from projects developed under the auspices of RelativityReal that came to fruition,” the complaint alleges.
Einziger also claims Camacho had another reason to steer him into the RelativityReal job: Camacho and Rakieten secretly were involved in a personal relationship, he claims.
The lawsuit says that Einziger passed on the rich CBS deal on Camacho’s advice but the subsequent offer from RelativityReal was so bad his longtime attorney refused to negotiate the contract. The employment was on a trial basis and Rakieten was allegedly inexperienced, requiring Einziger to run the business aspects of the company rather than pursue showrunning opportunities.
The lawsuit alleges that working with Rakieten became "toxic" as the nature of Camacho’s personal relationship with Rakieten became clearer. Einziger says Camacho referred to Rakieten as his "soul mate" and Rakieten told him Camacho " was 'in love' with her and was acting 'out of control' with respect to their personal dealings." The suit says Camacho often called the office asking about Rakieten. As Camacho's behavior became more erratic, the lawsuit alleges, Einziger quit Rakieten’s company in May and Camacho fired him as a client via text message with no explanation shortly afterward.
Einziger “ultimately lost millions of dollars in compensation, career momentum and reputation because he followed [Camacho and UTA’s] advice without knowing Camacho’s true motivation and conflicts of interest,” according to the complaint.
The complaint, filed by Marty Singer and Paul Sorrell of Lavely & Singer, alleges causes of action for breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud and breach of oral contract. Damages are estimated as in excess of $10 million.