3:30pm PT by Eriq Gardner
"World's Most Interesting Man" Strikes Back at Talent Agency
He doesn't always get sued, but when he does, he attempts vengeance.
Jonathan Goldsmith, known as the "most interesting man in the world" thanks to appearances in Dos Equis advertisements, has unleashed one hell of a curious cross-complaint against the talent management firm suing him for allegedly owed commissions. Accused of not paying 10 percent on his nearly $1 million-per-year Dos Equis work, Goldsmith says the guy who owns the firm is not who he says he is. Worse, the guy allegedly "jeopardized his future as the spokesman for Dos Equis beer."
According to Goldsmith's legal papers, the guy known as "Tim Jordan" is really Butch Klein, "a failed 'C' list actor who appears in 'D' movies, and now a failed personal manager."
Goldsmith says Klein lives in a fantasy world.
"He has assumed a fake name (going by the moniker 'Tim Jordan') so that he can presumably fool others about his so-called career as a personal manager," states the cross-complaint. "That he goes to great lengths to hide who he is is evident by the fact that the name of his company is Jordan Lee, Inc., and does business as Gold Levin Talent even, though his former partner's name is Tom Gardener. Who is the Gold and who is the Levin? What does Butch Klein have to hide?"
Goldsmith details how he came to be represented by the firm.
In 2002, he was being handled by Barbara Buky, who would later become his wife. Buky at that point was with the Morgan Agency, which represented Klein — the actor.
"In approximately January 2004, Barbara left the Morgan Agency and began searching for a new job," states Goldsmith's court filing. "She was soon contacted by GLT, through its owner, the man going by 'Tim Jordan,' and a meeting was scheduled to discuss the possibility of Barbara joining GLT as a manager. Tim Jordan presented himself and acted as if he was a licensed talent agent. However, GLT was not a licensed talent agency. During the meeting, Barbara was surprised to discover that Tim Jordan and Butch Klein were one and the same person."
Goldsmith's manager and future wife went to work for GLT, and during the relationship, Goldsmith was hired to become the face of Dos Equis beer in 2006. "The Dos Equis deal was entirely of Barbara's and Jonathan's making," continues the court papers. "Barbara found the opportunity, cultivated it, brought it in, negotiated the terms, and managed the business relationship. Jonathan secured the deal through his demonstrated talent."
All GLT allegedly did was cash the checks, but in 2010, the Goldsmiths moved to Vermont.
Everything above is merely showy prologue to the basis of the counterclaims. Goldsmith says that in 2012 he negotiated a new contract with Dos Equis to continue being the spokesperson for the brand. The deal is said to have contained a broad confidentiality clause that included a strict prohibition on disclosure of any terms of the 2012 agreement.
"Upon information and belief, Cross-Defendants disclosed the terms of the confidential 2012 Agreement, in violation of the agreement's strict confidentiality provision and Cross-Defendants' fiduciary relationship," charges the cross-complaint, adding that the alleged disclosure "badly damaged Jonathan's business relationship with Advertiser and jeopardized his future as the spokesperson for Dos Equis beer."
The cross-complaint, filed on behalf of Goldsmith by attorney William Briggs and asserting tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty, doesn't go any detail about this disclosure. Was it the filing of the original lawsuit revealing Goldsmith's pay? Time will tell.
"The allegations in the cross-complaint are simply untrue, irrelevant excuses on why yet another actor should not pay a representative pursuant to an agreement that has been in place for years," responds Bryan Freedman, attorney for the plaintiff. "The most laughable part of it is that there is not anything in the cross-complaint which would provide a true legal defense to not paying what is owed. Instead, it seems like an opportunity to try and disparage his former representative by making up ridiculous, irrelevant things like, 'Oh, he goes by a fake name.'"
Freedman adds, "For the most interesting man in the world, this is the dumbest thing you can do. The truth may be that he had a few too many Dos Equis."