A shakeup at Independent Sports & Entertainment – formerly a division of Hollywood mogul Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media – has bled into court, with the agency suing one of the National Basketball Association’s most powerful agents.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, claims Dan Fegan intentionally undermined Century City-based Independent Sports & Entertainment despite the agency shelling out more than $20 million to bring him onboard in 2013.
“Fegan has repeatedly taken action to unfairly compete with ISE, to poison ISE’s business by attempting to turn its own employees against it, and to freeze out executives from asserting their supervisorial authority,” the complaint reads. “Fegan has carried out this scheme to put his own personal business interests above that of ISE with the goal of capitalizing on his disloyalty by attempting to take from ISE the very business he sold to it in 2013.”
ISE said in its legal filing that it was also seeking an injunction against Fegan in addition to unspecified statutory and compensatory damages. The agency fired Fegan Friday, according to the complaint, after a meeting Thursday failed to resolve mounting tensions.
The complaint claims Fegan, who over the years represented NBA stars including DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan, worked since at least June 2016 to foment dissension at ISE. The lawsuit alleges Fegan planned to leave the agency when his contract was up at the end of this year and was attempting to undercut ISE ahead of his departure.
Fegan’s conduct included telling agents at ISE not to sign new contracts and giving players and employees unauthorized payments to induce loyalty, according to the complaint. Fegan also allegedly told agency Chief Executive Hank Ratner that he (Fegan), "didn’t give a shit about the company."
The documents also show ISE has moved to arbitrate the case out of court. Patricia Glaser of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro is listed as Fegan’s counsel. Glaser did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ISE is represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s James Fogelman. Fogelman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ISE Chairman Ron Burkle issued the following statement on Friday regarding Fegan's ouster and the company's subsequent reorganization: "I have never been more enthusiastic about the future of ISE as we continue to strategically grow the business to establish a unique, diversified company," Burkle said.
Deals & Dealmakers reporter Henry Meier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @henry_meier.