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Ari Pushback: Realtor Gets Legal in WME Building Dispute

“Under no scenario does WME have the right to walk away from this deal. There is no ‘loophole.”

Michael Federman, a lawyer for the real estate giant George Comfort and Sons, says that the realtor has filed “legal proceedings” to stop WME partner Ari Emanuel from attempting to back out of a lease agreement for a glam new building for the agency still under construction on Beverly Drive.

“Under no scenario does WME have the right to walk away from this deal,” said Federman in an exclusive statement to Waxword. “There is no ‘loophole’ or other excuse that WME can use to circumvent the legal agreements made by Jim Wiatt and others.”

Federman filed legal proceedings against WME a month ago, but they are apparently confidential.


This kind of sounds like one of those nuclear disarmament agreements that get signed by one U.S. government, and then waffled on by the new administration. Or with a climate change bill. Or a freeze on West Bank settlements kind of thing.

Bibi Netanyahu will not go for it. Neither will Ari Emanuel, apparently.

A spokesman for William Morris Endeavor had no comment.

We reported earlier that Emanuel had backed out of a lease for the expensive, six-story building, a deal made by his predecessor, former William Morris chief Jim Wiatt.

The lease provides for resolution dispute by arbitration rather than court, so none of these documents will be publicly available.

The reason Emanuel gave, according to one agency executive, was that the building shared a parking lot with the Gersh Agency next door, and that there was a clause promising William Morris talent agency exclusivity in the space.

Federman would not confirm the parking situation. But he said it was immaterial.

“The lease is in full force and effect and construction of the building is ahead of schedule,” he said. “We anticipate delivery of the building early in the new year.” 

George Comfort and Sons is a real estate developer that owns millions of commercial square feet, mainly in Manhattan. The company recently led a group of investors to buy the landmark Worldwide Plaza in mid-Manhattan.

As for the new office space, the six-story, 200,000 square foot luxury building is at the corner of Beverly and Dayton Way (across from the new Montage Hotel) .

So amendment to earlier post on this topic: Tishman Construction is building the property, and is not the owner or manager. The listed owner is Beverly Wilshire Property LP, which is owned by George Comfort and Sons.


See previous: It’s the Parking Lot, Stupid: Ari Backs Out of New WME Building