Modeling Agency Sues Eve For Breach Of Contract

Wilhelmina says it hasn't been paid commissions for deals it brokered.

Eve might have to live up to her "pit bull in a skirt" image to defend herself against a suit filed in New York State Supreme Court on behalf of the Wilhelmina modeling agency.

The high-powered home of models such as Tyson Beckford and singers Jessica Simpson and Usher claims that, after splitting with the agency last year, Eve independently signed endorsement deals with companies that Wilhelmina had approached on her behalf, according to a copy of the court filing published on TheSmokingGun.com.

The suit against Eve, her company, Blondie Rockwell Inc., and two associates, says that the 24-year-old rapper born Eve Jihan Jeffers signed a two-year representation deal with Wilhelmina Artists Management in May 2001, and that the company sought out endorsement deals with companies such as Reebok on her behalf. The deal was to be renewed for an additional year unless written notice of termination was received, which the lawsuit alleges did not occur.

A spokesperson for Frankel & Abrams, the New York law firm representing Wilhelmina, would not comment. A spokesperson for Eve said she was unaware of the suit and had no comment.

The contract called for Wilhelmina to represent Eve in everything from runway modeling and commercials to tour sponsorships, product placement and endorsements in return for a standard commission. It also called for compensation on any future work related to agreements negotiated by Wilhelmina during the contract, according to the suit.

In addition, Wilhelmina claims to have initiated the deal that resulted in Eve's upcoming Fetish clothing line, though it is not involved in its execution (see "Eve's Fall Plans: 'Sex' On TV, Fetish Gear In Stores"). Not long after Eve split with Wilhelmina last year, the suit alleges that she signed endorsement contracts with Reebok and Candie's shoes — deals that Wilhelmina claims to have brokered.

The suit, filed June 27, does not specify damages. This is the second action by Wilhelmina in the past few months against a pop star, coming on the heels of a similar complaint in April against Beyoncé Knowles in which the agency claimed she owed it more than $88,000 in commissions on a deal it brokered with L'Oréal.