Vanity Fair Oscar Party 'Crasher' Lawsuit Heads to Trial

2012-42 REP Vanity Fair Party H

Hours before the star-studded Oscar party, the magazine was dealing with a brewing legal battle at its advertisers bash.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

An alleged Vanity Fair Oscar-party crasher could be headed to a courthouse showdown.

Two years ago, the magazine hired event planner J. Ben Bourgeois Productions to produce a lavish 2011 soiree for its advertisers (held right before the star-studded Oscars postparty).

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To do that, JBB needed an event venue, and the company says it was "ecstatic" to have been offered a mansion in Bel-Air. But the joys ended there.

The owner of the mansion, Accomplice Lifestyle CEO Elizabeth Mazzocchi, hoped that by offering her property, she could launch her upstart personal management company's services to "presidents of the top luxury brands." But JBB didn't want Mazzocchi to attend the party -- and it says it repeatedly told her so.

Now, the sides are locked in a legal dispute. Mazzocchi sued first, claiming JBB promised Accomplice would be made a Vanity Fair "marketing partner," but instead she was denigrated to the magazine's reps as the mere "groundskeeper" of the estate.

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Then on Nov. 15, a Los Angeles judge gave JBB the go-ahead to file a countersuit and argue that by signing a consultancy agreement, Accomplice was merely a "vendor," not a "sponsor," and that Mazzocchi was not supposed to be at the party.

But JBB says that before the bash, e-mails between Mazzocchi and her publicist show she had "a plan to scheme an invitation to the Vanity Fair event." And on the day of the party, Mazzocchi e-mailed Vanity Fair vp/publisher Edward Menicheschi to tell him she was coming (regardless of not being invited), which set off alarms about a "flash fire" that needed to be put out.

Mazzocchi eventually was invited inside, but she allegedly ticked off JBB by charging a fee to use the mansion and by bringing other uninvited guests. A trial is tentatively set for Jan. 22, less than two weeks after Oscar nominations are announced.