UPDATED with Vance’s Statement: Talent agent Melisa Spamer, one of two surviving partners at a LLC that operates as Domain Talent, filed a petition today to expel from the company the other, Joe Vance, alleging that the latter had embezzled significant amounts of money over a number of years. In a statement released to Deadline, Vance called Spamer’s claims “false” and said that they “will be dealt with by my lawyers in due course.”
“Respondent’s unlawful activity has resumed with additional acts of embezzlement that Respondent had concealed,” the filing alleges of Vance after a previous dispute of business funds and unauthorized checks was presumed to be settled in 2019 so the duo could keep on working together.
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“It is now apparent that Petitioner cannot continue to engage in business with Respondent occupying any role or responsibility that enables him to deal with the moneys of Petitioner or its clients, or any other significant management or financial role or responsibility,” attorney Norman Levine says for his client Spamer in the filing (read it here).
In what could be the opening salvo in a larger legal action, Spamer’s heavyweight lawyers at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP filed the short but detailed petition in LA Superior Court. The gist of the petition is that Spamer wants a court order that would see Vance “removed as a signatory on both of Petitioner’s bank accounts” and all aspects of their mutual business. As a part of that severing, Spamer also seeks Vance “disclose to Petitioner all negotiations and agreements with clients and all agreements negotiated on behalf of clients.”
The company in question, Krengel, Spamer & Vance LLC, was founded in 2005 by Gabrielle Krengel, Spamer and Vance who were equal partners, drawing equal compensation in Domain Talent, a boutique talent agency representing a slew of well known actors, including a number of TV stars. Following Krengel’s death in 2015, her stake was acquired by Spamer, who became a 60% owner vs. 40% for Vance though the two agreed to continue to split income 50-50.
According to the document and exhibits filed in LASC, things started to go bad two years ago when Spamer confronted Vance after discovering that he had allegedly been transferring money to himself, resulting in his compensation exceeding hers by $560,500. The petition claims that Vance “admitted the embezzlement and repaid” the amount soon afterwards.
The filing alleges other cases of embezzlement from 2019, involving personal expenses charged by Vance on Spamer’s credit card designated for business expenses, portions of which have been repaid, and writing himself a check from the company account. The two parties agreed that all checks on the company bank account would need to be signed by both parties, which appeared to work until, according to the lawsuit, Spamer claims she discovered in late February 2021 that Vance “had resumed his theft and has written numerous checks without obtaining Ms. Spamer’s authorization and signature, including checks payable to himself.”
According to the filing, Vance’s actions left the company’s bank account with insufficient funds “to pay payrolls and other essential expenses.”
At that point, Spamer and Vance started negotiations “to separate their business affairs.” The process allegedly uncovered additional wrongdoings by Vance, including withholding contract information, the filing says. Spamer also accuses Vance of “repeated and ongoing abusive and harassing conduct” toward her.
In response to the filing, Vance issued a statement.
“For the past 15 months Melisa and I have been negotiating a separation from Domain,” he said. “We unfortunately couldn’t come to terms and sadly the partnership has run its course. The allegations in Melisa’s claim are false and will be dealt with by my lawyers in due course, but I wish Melisa nothing but the best on her future endeavors.”
In Spamer’s petition, along with the specifics of ending the professional relationship, she wants Vance to pick up the cost of the legal action and, as every filing says, “such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”
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