James Franco's ex-managers sued for embezzlement; countersuit filed

James Franco’s recently-fired talent and financial managers have been sued for allegedly bilking the actor and James/Levy Management out of a large sum of money for nearly a decade.

Randy James and Ken Jacobson filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court on Friday, claiming Franco’s ex-managers Miles Levy and Steve Blatt “conspired to, and did by fraudulent means, embezzle significant sums in commissions” beginning in 2006. James and Levy, listed in the court papers as childhood friends, founded James/Levy Management in 1986.

According to the suit, Levy told James that Franco was dropping the amount he paid in commission from 15 percent to 10 percent, and that Levy and Blatt diverted that five percent into a corporation named Down Goes Frazier, Inc., “formed by Miles and Blatt for the sole purpose of facilitating this theft.” Franco isn’t a direct party to the lawsuit.

Tanner Mainstain, Blatt’s financial management firm, wasted no time in filing a counterclaim against James, Levy, and Jacobson.

According to that suit, also filed Friday in California Superior Court, James/Levy Management was “rife with internal mismanagement, surreptitious behavior, duplicitousness, and questionable ethical acts.”

As early as 2006, James, Jacobson and others at their firm allegedly knew that Levy had an “enormous gambling addiction which was thrusting him further and deeper into debt, that he had stolen money from JLM, and that he made numerous unauthorized ‘side deals’ with his clients for payment of management commissions directly to him rather than to JLM.”

Tanner Mainstain claims James turned a blind eye on Levy’s practices while he was generating large amounts of money for their firm. “However, only now and because Mr. Levy’s lucrative client, James Franco, has terminated JLM’s services and their income stream is ending, do James and JLM claim ignorance of Mr. Levy’s character and action.”

You can read the original lawsuit here, and the full cross-complaint for equitable indemnity can be found here.


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