I’ve got more inside information about the Ed Limato and ICM break-up. (Complete Wrapup: EXCLUSIVE: ICM & Ed Limato Call It Quits.) What a mess! Let me put it this way: the phrase “those lousy scumbuckets” is being used inside the Limato camp. “For 32 years, Ed brought them millions and millions of dollars,” an insider close to the iconic motion picture talent agent just told me. The ICM side points out that Jeff Berg tried hard to negotiate an emeritus status for the 71-year-old Limato, with less money and fewer perks and no management role but with a job for life. Ed wouldn’t agree to it.
Here’s a kick in the ass: Limato didn’t know ICM’s announcement was coming down today. He learned about it when his assistant received the interoffice email and read it to him over the phone. “ICM has systematically done everything to humiliate me,” a Limato supporter quoted Ed as saying. For its part, the ICM side says hurt feelings are inevitable when an agency undergoes “generational transformation” which is necessary if younger agents are going to play a bigger role in management and have a bigger stake in the tenpercentery. A source there dismissed the drama as “soap opera. The world still turns, and so does ICM.”
Here are some more particulars I’ve gleaned. Insiders tell me that Limato’s contract calls for arbitration. So even though the agent’s attorneys “served legal papers” on ICM quite a while ago, I’m told no lawsuit has been filed. Instead, the arbitration process was started. It comes up August 1st. Repping Mel’s and Denzel’s agent are two Beverly Hills pitbulls, showbiz’s Tom Hansen (of Hansen Jacobson) and litigator Miles Feldman (of Browne & Woods).
Why is this so ugly? Because a lot of he said/he said nastiness will ensue over slings and arrows ICM never, ever, wanted to leak out about goings-on inside the agency. Just as ICM is making this all about Ed, the Limato camp is making this all about ex-Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann Agency partner Chris Silbermann, 39. At issue? Chris’s new role at ICM. I’m told that Limato’s legal eagles are claiming that ICM lied to him and violated his deal when the tenpercentery made a reputedly “secret pact” during the Broder merger to give Silbermann the ICM presidency, and thus force Ed out. “ICM made a deal with the devil when they took over Broder. Think about it: everyone wanted to buy Broder Kurland, and CAA wanted them desperately. But Broder goes with ICM. Why? Because Chris knew he’d be in charge.” The ICM side says the notion of a secret pact is “inflammatory and bullshit legal rhetoric”. As one agency insider told me: “Silbermann came into ICM as co-president with the understanding that he could learn from Ed and be a partner with him and Jeff [Berg]. Chris met with Ed before anyone ever did the deal. There was never any secrecy about Chris’ position. We didn’t seek to harm Ed.”
Limato also is challenging the 3-year noncompete clause in his ICM contract which may not be legal in California. “That’s slavery,” a source close to the agent just told me. “He can’t go to work anywhere else even as a manager or agent. They believe they can force him into retirement and keep all his clients. That was their big plan. But that’s not going to happen.” The ICM side believes Limato should live up to the tenets of his contract.
I’m told Limato won’t even consider retiring. “I want to work for many years, and I want to work as an agent,” he told pals over the past few days. “I just simply can’t work at ICM anymore.” ICM agrees. “Ed needs to move on,” an insider there said.
For more, including my speculation on what Limato may do next, see my complete wrap-up: EXCLUSIVE: ICM & Ed Limato Call It Quits