Bill Weinstein Sues Verve Over His Exit: Lawsuit

Bill Weinstein has sued Verve talent agency stemming from his exit after a little more than a year as chief executive, accusing the firm’s leadership of conspiring to oust him in a move to sell the company without cutting him in on the deal.

Weinstein, in a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claimed that agency co-founders Bryan Besser and Adam Levine terminated him following his attempts to resolve a deadlock on personnel and administrative matters such as board of director composition and officer compensation. He says he was fired for unspecified “cause,” which allowed Verve to purchase his equity interest at a substantial discount.

The complaint, which also names Levine and Besser, brings a claim for breach of contract. He seeks a court order blocking Verve, which did not respond to a request for comment, from terminating his employment until the lawsuit is resolved.

Earlier in February the agency announced that Weinstein would be leaving Verve, where he was appointed CEO in January 2023. He was a founding partner with Besser and Levine, the trio having left WME after Endeavor acquired it and launched their own shop in 2010.

“We thank Bill as a co-founder and for his 14 years of service and wish him nothing but success in his future,” Verve leadership stated at the time.

According to the complaint, the company found itself at a crossroads at the start of the year in which it could not continue normal operations without addressing disagreements amongst the firm’s managers. Verve, for example, had yet to finalize new compensation packages even though it had set out to reformulate it more than a year ago. In July 2023, Weinstein had made a proposal to the board, which did not counter until December.

Following company procedures dictating dispute resolution processes, Weinstein on Feb. 8 sent a confidential letter to Besser and Levine to discuss the issues plaguing the company, the suit says. The correspondence was meant to explore a sale, separation or fundamental shift in the current management structure.

Rather than engage in negotiations, the suit claims Besser and Levine instead “raced to execute their coup d’état, pre-emptively stopping Weinstein from addressing any of the disputed matters through negotiations” and “short-circuiting the required dispute resolution procedures.”

Besser and Levine on Feb. 19 formally ousted Weinstein from the company. Although he was informed he was terminated for “cause,” he has not been provided an explanation for the underlying basis of his removal.

According to the complaint, it allowed other members of the board to purchase his equity, which stood at 25 percent of the firm, at a significant discount.

The suit accuses Levine and Besser of leaking news of Weinstein’s termination less than 20 minutes after he was notified in violation of company procedures mandating confidentiality.

A few days after he was terminated, it was announced that Weinstein would be starting his own outfit, with several former Verve agents joining him.

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