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Lawyer ‘Sold Out’ Tyler, Suit Claims

02:01 PM Thursday 10/18/12 |   |

Steven Tyler’s former management company filed suit against the singer’s attorney, accusing Dina LaPolt of costing him a multimillion-dollar raise and defaming Kovac Media Group chief Allen Kovac during “American Idol” contract negotiations last year.

  • Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

    iHeartRadio Music Festival, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
    September 22, 2012

    (Eric Reed / Invision / AP)

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The complaint, filed by Kovac Media Group and subsidiary Tenth Street Entertainment, alleges that during “Idol” negotiations, LaPolt went behind TSE’s back to undermine negotiations in order to “curry favor with ‘American Idol’ to refer her other artists and talent.”

It also accuses LaPolt of “badmouthing” agency principal Kovac to the opposing team while she was supposed to be negotiating for Tyler and TSE, breaching her duty of loyalty and confidentiality to her client.

The complaint, filed Oct. 11 in Los Angeles Superior Court, doesn’t specifically name Tyler, but unmistakably describes “The Artist” as the Aerosmith singer and former “Idol” judge. Neither Tyler, Aerosmith nor “American Idol” are named as defendants.

“LaPolt sold out her own client,” the suit alleges, changing negotiating strategies in the middle of talks aimed at scoring Tyler a $6 million to $8 million raise on his then-current contract. He has since left the show.

Instead of supporting TSE’s aggressive strategy, the complaint says, LaPolt “directed communications to an agent for ‘American Idol’ (the other side) in which she bad-mouthed, disparaged and undermined Kovac (her client) and his negotiation strategy … and undercut TSE’s strategy to leverage the Artist’s popularity for a more lucrative deal.

“She told ‘American Idol’s’ agent that Kovac ‘overplayed his hand with his aggressive behavior’ and that ‘American Idol’ could get the Artist for cheap, thereby undermining and negating Kovac’s/the Artist’s position in the negotiations. …

“Instead of the big increase he had coming, the Artist’s ‘new’ ‘American Idol’ contract was in line with the previous one.” After negotiations concluded, the complaint asserts, LaPolt signed on to represent “numerous ‘American Idol’ performers.”

The suit doesn’t stop there. It also accuses LaPolt of turning Eric Sherman, described as a “senior employee of TSE and a day-to-day manager for the Artist,” against Kovac and the company, and facilitating what amounts to a poaching of Sherman and Tyler by rival management firm X1X Entertainment.

Left with “no choice in the matter,” TSE entered into a termination and release agreement with Sherman dated Aug. 1, 2011, signing over Tyler’s management contract and with Sherman agreeing to pay TSE a portion of Tyler’s commission for two years. LaPolt represented Tyler in these negotiations as well, according to the complaint.

But earlier this year, TSE alleges, LaPolt, “in a blatant act of interference … cut TSE out of its rightful commission for the Artist’s management as specified in [the contract assignment agreement].

“LaPolt unlawfully took 1% ‘off the top’ of the 2% total commission on the Artist’s band touring revenue. She took the money for herself,” the complaint continues. “By doing so, TSE’s commission was diluted and reduced by half.”

  • 2011 ‘Idol’ Judges

    In this undated publicity image, ‘American Idol’ judges, from left, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson are shown during Hollywood Week in Los Angeles.

    (AP Photo)

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TSE figures its actual damages to be in excess of $2 million, and seeks compensatory and “consequential” damages in excess of $8 million, plus the usual legal fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, punitive and exemplary damages and other costs to be determined by the court.


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