NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — It seemed like Richard Abate was made in the shade. After long service for ICM in their literary division, he seemed like the ideal choice to head up Endeavor's new Gotham literary division. ICM however, had a different point of view.
In a lawsuit reported on Thursday by media site Gawker.com, ICM claims that Abate had a non-compete in place that had yet to be negotiated and if ICM gets their way, Abate won't be able to work for Endeavor until December 2008. This could be serious business for Endeavor — Abate had more than 50 major clients in his portfolio, including names like Lisi Harrison (author of the wildly popular Clique series) and Yiyun Li (A Thousand Years of Good Prayers) and his transition was a major component of Endeavor's expansion plans.
The lawsuit also gives some insight into the nature of compensation for agents in such rarified air as Abate finds himself in now (pending lawsuits). When he caught on with ICM in 1996, he had been working as an assistant with a publisher for just over $20,000 a year. The preceeding decade however has been kind to Abate with his salary increasing by a factor of ten to $200,000+ a year, with a tidy $85k bonus last year.
If the lawsuit is a negotiational posture for ICM or if they really mean to try to put a kibosh on Abate's deal with Endeavor is unclear however a hearing on March 19th might provide more insight into the undercurrents of these events. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers