Ovitz Sued Again

Former Walt Disney Co. president and Creative Artists Agency co-founder Michael Ovitz is in legal hot water again, as supermarket mogul Ron Burkle has filed a suit accusing the onetime über-agent of refusing to honor his financial obligation to a joint venture the two started in 1998, according to Variety.

Ovitz still isn’t off the hook for his most recent legal entanglement. A shareholder derivative lawsuit challenging his $140 million severance from Disney awaits a decision after a two-month trial in Delaware.

Burkle alleges in a breach of contract and fraud suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that Ovitz approached him to become partners in certain Internet ventures. Ovitz reportedly made an oral agreement that he and his investment vehicle, CKE, would offer Burkle a chance to acquire 10 percent of all potential business ventures and half of all Internet projects Ovitz found.

Ovitz and Burkle were to contribute equally in the investment burden, Variety quoted the lawsuit as saying, and Ovitz urged Burkle to invest in Internet ventures Checkout.com and TalkCity.com. Ovitz is accused of not meeting his end of the deal.

The paper also reported that Burkle alleges Ovitz promised to give him an option to purchase a 10 percent share of Ovitz’s management company, AMG. Ovitz ultimately sold the failed venture to The Firm in 2002 for $12 million and did not notify Burkle.

And in an apparent insult to injury, Burkle also alleges that Ovitz nosed him out of a chance to invest in Internet search engine juggernaut Google by intentionally hiding the opportunity from him.

The lawsuit does not specify damages but reportedly appears to seek millions in unpaid investments and lost opportunities.

Ovitz’ attorney reportedly said the suit is “more suitable as garbage-can liner than it is a legal complaint.”