(UPDATED WITH KLEIN LAWYER STATEMENT) EXCLUSIVE: A week after former Paradigm agent Debbee Klein smacked her old employer with a $2 million breach of contract lawsuit, the Sam Gores-led company has hit back today with a searing court multi-million dollar filing of its own denying all allegations of impropriety as “self-aggrandizing and delusional,” especially calumnious claims that prostitutes were hired by the agency’s chairman.
“The attached declaration of Gores’ longtime executive assistant confirms that this alleged conversation never took place,” declares the motion to compel arbitration of Klein’s assertion that a suddenly fired staffer told her earlier this year of sex workers being paid on the company’s dime for Gores and others.
“After the complaint was filed, this former Paradigm employee reached out to Gores because she ‘wanted to help set the record straight regarding this fabricated conversation between [her] and Klein, which had never taken place,” the filing (READ IT HERE) states of the sworn recollection of the unnamed assistant taken earlier this week. “She confirmed that she is ‘outraged’ by Klein’s ‘blatant lies,’” adds the paperwork from Paradigm’s Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert lawyers. “She also stated under oath that she ‘never’ had a conversation with Klein regarding Gores’ supposed procurement of prostitutes, or his alleged misuse of company funds to pay for them. She also confirmed that Gores ‘never asked [her] to procure a prostitute for himself or anyone else,’ let alone to have Paradigm pay for it.”
Looking for “several million dollars in damages” out of Klein for “breach of the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions in her 2015 employment agreement,” the response is seeking to take the whole thing behind the closed door of arbitration. Hoping for a June 7 hearing in front of LA Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon, today’s response also proclaims that “multi-millionaire Hollywood Agent” Klein never actually had a new employment contract with Paradigm after her last deal expired at the end of last year, the agency says that the “fabricated complaint is filled with gaping inconsistencies.”
And this is very personal.
“In what can only be described as an extraordinary sense of entitlement and arrogance,
Klein is outraged that Paradigm had the audacity to suspend the negotiations over her multimillion dollar employment contract in the midst of a worldwide pandemic,” the motion states. “Paradigm intended to resume the negotiations when business returned to normal, and/or it had some realistic sense of its potential exposure. Although Paradigm hoped that Klein would remain loyal to the agency in difficult times, it understood that it was taking a risk that she would seek new employment.”
“To say that Klein has stabbed her former mentor, boss, and friend of 23 years, Sam Gores, in the back is an understatement of epic proportions.”
Debbee Klein’s main lawyer flipped the script right back Thursday.
“Since disingenuously declaring a ‘force majeure’ and terminating/reducing hundreds of employees based on its ‘financial inability’ to perform on its contracts, suddenly, Paradigm has found millions of dollars to do everything possible to try and clean up Sam’s reputation,” Bryan Freedman told Deadline this morning.
“Employees that were either suspended without pay, suffered salary reductions or were terminated should be asking why the millions of dollars are being spent on the after the fact fund, the ParaTimes newsletter and motions in litigation to keep the case private instead of on their own contractural rights to payments and health insurance during this pandemic,” the attorney added. “Given these facts, it seems more like force manure than force majeure.”
“As our filing today demonstrates, Ms. Klein’s complaint is a sham, replete with falsehoods and was filed in clear contravention of her arbitration agreement,” Kinsella reiterated in his own statement to Deadline for his client. “Paradigm is now focusing its attention on its claims in arbitration against Ms. Klein for substantial damages stemming from her malicious filing.”
That war over millions on either side could see some pretty big rocks turned over for all parties as this goes to the discovery phase.
Though Gores himself isn’t actually named as a defendant in Klein’s initial complaint, the Paradigm repeatedly with tales of unrewarded loyalty, the claims of “his sexual dalliances with prostitutes” hired with company money, corporate funds used as a “personal piggy bank,” a self-sabotaged big bucks deal for Paradigm to be bought by UTA and rampant sexism, among other allegations by his long time lieutenant.
Lawyers for Debbee Klein did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment on today’s motion filing. We will update this post if and when they do.