Oksana Baiul, the ice skating champ from Ukraine, is taking her former representatives to court for withholding profits from her since the day they signed her when she was still a minor. We’re talking many millions of dollars here.
Back in 1994, Baiul won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics and was thus catapulted to international fame.
She signed with WME when she was still underage and, she says, they used her poor command of English to trick her out of her rightfully earned money, The Hollywood Reporter says after getting a hold of the court documents filed in Los Angeles the other day.
Until August 2011 when she signed with a different representation, Baiul has been bleeding money – almost literally.
“The Ukrainian champion alleges in a new lawsuit against the William Morris Endeavor talent agency that she has been taken advantage of – starting at the age of 16, when, not understanding English, she experienced her Olympic success,” THR writes.
“On Monday, Baiul filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that claims she gave the defendants the right to represent her when other talent agents were hounding her, and that since then, WME has collected money on her behalf and refused to remit what she is owed,” adds the same media outlet.
As of November 2011, her new representatives collected the impressive amount of $9.5 million (€7.4 million) on her behalf, but Baiul believes this is just the tip of the iceberg of the amounts she’s due.
“Not until November 19, 2011, did Baiul discover, through investigations by her personal manager, [Carlo] Farina, that though Defendants undertook the duty to collect and in fact collected almost US $9.5 [€7.4 million] million on Baiul's behalf, Defendants failed to collect additional sums to which Baiul was contractually entitled, failed to remit payment of the additional sums to Baiul and/or took the payments owing to Baiul and wrongful transferred them to OCL, UFG, and their agents,” court documents allege.
They also list endorsements or other jobs Baiul signed for and did over the years, but for which she was never paid. One can only imagine to how much they might amount to in total.
THR reached out to WME for comment but, as of the time of writing, got none.