Will Smith’s and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment, and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s 100 Percent Womon Film Investments filed a complaint in California Superior Court this week. I’m told the filing is meant to head off a threatened lawsuit by an investor in Human Contract, a film Pinkett-Smith wrote and directed which went straight to video and apparently lost money. Lawyers filed the complaint for declaratory relief against David Grasso, described in the filing as a Philadelphia real estate mogul who invested in Pinkett-Smith’s film through his Tycoon Entertainment banner. I’m told the complaint was a proactive legal move by Pinkett-Smith and Overbrook after Grasso sent a letter threatening to sue for fraud unless he got his money back. Overbrook is involved because the company manages Pinkett-Smith.
The complaint argues that Grasso is a seasoned real estate investor who had ICM as his counsel and should have understood the speculative nature of investing in film. According to the complaint, Grasso claimed in his letter that he was told his investment was risk-free. Plaintiffs deny making such an assertion, and claim Grass acknowledged in writing that he understood the risks.
I couldn’t immediately reach Grasso. But Pinkett-Smith’s attorney Ken Hertz said in a statement, “Although we normally shun this type of controversy, we felt compelled to respond to the baseless threats and absurd allegations put forth by Mr. Grasso’s counsel. Mr. Grasso is a very experienced investor and he approached our clients — eager to invest in this film… We sincerely wish this film had reached a larger audience, and we share Mr. Grasso’s disappointment that it did not.”