Former Olympic gold medalist Oksana Baiul is suing the William Morris Endeavour talent agency for more than $1 million, alleging the agency took advantage of her when she was a teenager and didn't understand English.
The Ukranian native, who won gold at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, claimed she signed a contract with WME not knowing that funds from several endorsement deals were funneled to people she didn’t know, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Baiul, 35, filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court and is seeking $1 million for money allegedly owed to her plus punitive damages, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The lawsuit was filed on a number of grounds, including of breach of written contract, breach of fiduciary duty, concealment, intentional misrepresentation, false promise, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, tortuous interference and conversion, the entertainment publication reported.
Baiul was 16 when she signed the contract and claims in her suit that she was told it was OK for her to make the agreement without a legal guardian.
In her lawsuit, the gold medalist says she discovered she was allegedly shut out of the money owed to her last year after hiring a new personal manager, Carlo Farina.
Farina was able to recover $9.5 million for Baiul after finding accounting discrepancies, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
"Not until November 19, 2011, did Baiul discover, through investigations by her personal manager, Farina, that though Defendants undertook the duty to collect and in fact collected almost US $9.5 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,” the lawsuit states.
OCL [Olympic Champions Ltd.] and UFG [Ukranian Financial Group] were Baiul’s agents for skating tours and merchandising, according to the Reporter.
She did not have a relationship with the agencies when payments were distributed to the companies, according to the Times.
Among the $1 million Baiul says she is owed includes $150,000 from a jewelry line, $100,000 in advances and royalties from a greeting card company, the Times reported.
The former gold medalist also says she was never given money from television specials, books, an infomercial and film and television contracts, according to the paper.
WME declined to comment on the lawsuit.