Agent, manager collide

Tom Ross, the head of Creative Artists Agency’s music department, has filed a multimillion-dollar suit against his former business manager Craig Wald, alleging that the man illegally invested and lost about $ 2.5 million.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, is against Wald, Mark Kaufman and Nahid Jaffee and the various orgs jointly owned by them.

Imprudent investments

“We believe that Mr. Wald did not make investments that were prudent, he did not keep his clients fully informed, he spent money without authorization and he made promises that he did not keep,” said Ross’ attorney, Howard Weitzman, of Katten Muchin Zavis & Weitzman. “If this were just real estate investments that had gone bad, we would not have filed.”

Yet Wald’s attorney, Skip Miller of Christensen & White, said that this suit is nothing more than “sour grapes.”

“The suit is totally without merit,” Miller said. “Mr. Ross is trying to blame my client for the recession in the real estate market, which was not his fault.”

Schepisi’s similar suit

The suit follows a similar suit filed against Wald last year by director Fred Schepisi (Daily Variety, Sept. 15, 1992). In that suit, Schepisi charged that Wald and Kaufman had invested his pension monies into real estate where they had part ownership or that was in bankruptcy, without his knowledge.

Ross and his wife were good friends with Wald for more than 10 years. Wald and his wife are the godparents of Ross’ son, court papers said, while the Rosses are godparents of Wald’s son.

Yet about six months ago, Weitzman said, Ross discovered that Wald had used the money in his children’s trust fund for investments that Ross did not know about.

“In fact, it was discovered that Wald used up all the liquidity Tom had left, ” Weitzman said.

Real estate ventures

During the tenure of Wald’s management of Ross’ funds, court papers state that he invested a great deal of money in real estate ventures, including such enterprises as the Country Club Plaza Shopping Center in Glendora, the Venice Art Loft, and bowling alleys in Sun City, San Dimas and Palmdale, along with dozens of single family, apartment or townhouse units.

Court papers state that Wald assured the Rosses that the investments were insured and that he would make good any losses.

The suit, which also lists Ross’ wife and two children as plaintiffs, charges intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of state securities laws and breach of promissory note, among others.

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