The whole ICM-Endeavor feud over unlikeable book agent Richard Abate kinda bores me – except for all the juicy insults now directed that agent’s way. (…And the continuing perception that upstart Endeavor has the Big Mo.) The two agencies went legal on each other after ICM requested a temporary restraining order to prevent Abate from jumping to Endeavor because he wasn’t supposed to work for a competitor until 2008. Even the judge said at trial: “Frankly, I feel like most of this is wasting my time”. Today’s ruling by the NYC-based federal court refuses to grant ICM injunctive relief because, for one thing, Abate wasn’t deemed a “unique, irreplaceable employee of ICM”. Isn’t that kind of a diss on the agent? So now Abate is free to set up shop over at Endeavor, while an arbitration decides what commissions he owes ICM. (Yeah, my eyes glaze over.) True, it was mildly interesting that Abate emailed a file containing his Microsoft Outlook contacts and an associated phone log either to his wife’s email address or to his own personal email address. And so was Abate’s testimony (reported by Galleycat) that in January, with more than 11 months remaining on his 3-year/$260,000 a year contract, ICM wanted to renegotiate upwards to $500,000, with increases through early 2010. Abate said he appreciated the offer, but not the time one Friday when none of ICM’s New York employees got their checks on time. The next day, Abate called Endeavor and spoke to Nancy Josephson, recently fired from ICM and the daughter of ICM agency founder Josephson, about whether Endeavor was “interested in doing books.” So it was a revenge hire. But the much bigger news is all the talk (coming out of Gawker.com) describing Abate as “near-universally reviled’ and ”a nasty little man” and a worthy candidate for its “Worst Bosses Of New York” list and “one of those people who refuses to ever identify himself when calling, like you should obviously just be able to recognize the sound of his voice, and then eventually you do, and you hate yourself for it.” Now, I’m loving that. (I can’t judge for myself: I’m in LA and never met this NYC guy.) While disappointed with the court’s decision, ICM remindied everyone that “ICM has the preeminent publishing division in the industry and, as always, our clients and continued outstanding service to them comes first.” As for Endeavor, they couldn’t get the judge’s decision in media hands fast enough.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.