5:23pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Frank Miller Sued by Ex-Business Manager Over Alleged Unpaid Fees
Frank Miller's ex-business manager claims the Sin City writer owes him unpaid fees, and is suing for at least $1 million in damages.
Mark Lichtman says he represented Miller for nearly three decades, managing his entertainment business interests from his graphic novels, films and television projects. He's lost his copy of their original contract, but claims it entitles him to 10 percent of Miller's entertainment earnings from deals entered into during their business relationship.
Lichtman says Miller made more than $15 million from projects like Sin City, 300 and The Spirit during their nearly 30 years of working together — and the manager claims he was "instrumental" in developing the writer-director's career.
Things were going smoothly, the suit claims, until Silenn Thomas entered Miller's life in 2006. Lichtman says both the nature of their relationship and her professional qualifications are unclear.
"Thomas began to exert influence over Miller, including the execution of a scheme to deliberately disrupt the contractual relationship that Miller had with Lichtman as his long-term manager," writes attorney Kenneth Keller in the complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He further alleges that Thomas made defamatory statements about Lichtman including that he "harangued" Miller and was conspiring with others to harm him.
Lichtman also says Thomas barred him from speaking to Miller at a 2014 Comic-Con party for Sin City 2 and told others that the manager hadn't been invited, the two were no longer working together and Miller didn't want to see him.
"Thomas and Does 6-10 made false and misleading statements that Lichtman was incompetent, senile and too old to perform his duties as Miller's manager," writes Keller, adding that other Miller reps and industry professionals were also told "Lichtman was dishonest in his dealings with Miller, that he 'swindled' Miller out of millions of dollars, that he was a liar and a cheat, that he is 'disliked' throughout the industry and that no one will do business with him."
The manager says he was fired by Miller's attorney in August 2014 and has never actually heard from Miller directly about the end of their business relationship. The attorney ensured Lichtman would be paid his fees under their agreement. A year later, Lichtman says he emailed the attorney about his right to revenue from certain projects and, in response, received an "abusive and derogatory" email from Thomas that said, "How bad of a jew are you to your fellow humans !!!!!!!?????????"
Lichtman says he hasn't been paid his share and Miller's reps won't let him audit the revenue. He is suing Miller for breach of contract and Thomas for intentional interference with contract and prospectic economic advantage.
A friend close to Miller says the timing of the lawsuit is interesting, alluding to the start of this year's Comic-Con. "Frank is looking forward to this weekend," says the source. "He loves the fans, so this is his favorite time of year."
Thomas has not yet commented on the complaint.