Music exec Scooter Braun, best known for his ugly public spat with Taylor Swift, lured a high-flying financier into a dead-end job by name-dropping stars like Kanye West, according to a new lawsuit.
Former Goldman Sachs partner Peter Comisar says Braun duped him into leaving his lucrative gig at Guggenheim Securities by promising him a role at the top of a new boutique investment firm that he claimed would be backed by media titans like Apple’s Jimmy Iovine, Hollywood magnate David Geffen as well as the billionaire Soros family.
“Braun, by all outward appearance, was the real deal,” the lawsuit said. But when it came time to secure funding from his high-powered pals, he turned out to be a “sheep in wolves clothing,” the suit said.
Comisar’s Los Angeles state court lawsuit alleges that Braun “aggressively courted” him from 2016 to 2017 to launch Scope Capital Partners together with business manager David Bolno.
According to court papers, the courtship kicked off in 2016 with Bolno touting Braun’s success “reigniting Calvin Klein underwear through a campaign with Justin Bieber and creating the Yeezy brand for Kanye West.”
The courtship hit a fever pitch in 2017 when the slick Hollywood manager behind singers like Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Carly Rae Jepsen “personally executed contractual commitments to support the new venture,” the lawsuit claims.
The contract committed Braun to a $7-million-a-year operating expense for Scope over three years, including a $3-million-a-year salary for Comisar, the suit said.
In luring Comisar, Braun allegedly boasted that he could raise between $500 million and $700 million from “close friends” like Iovine, Geffen and the media and entertainment scion Haim Saban. He also name dropped billionaires like Soros, Mittal and Reuben families, the suit says.
To prove his connections, Braun went so far as to describe Geffen, the Hollywood bigwig behind Dreamworks and cult films like “Beetlejuice” and “Risky Business,” as his “godfather,” court papers say.
But those investors never panned out, the suit said.
“Braun had to explain to Comisar, tail between his legs, how he had asked David Geffen, his supposed Godfather, to invest in Scope, only to be told by Geffen that he did not view Braun as someone with whom Geffen would invest.”
Braun allegedly got “the same brush-off from Jimmy Iovine, Haim Saban and the Reuben Soros and Mittal families.”
“The truth was that Braun’s relations valued him as someone to socialize with, but to whom they could never and trust their millions,” the lawsuit claimed. “When it came to fundraising, Braun turned out to be a sheep in wolves clothing.”
Braun didn’t return a request for comment.
Behind the scenes, meanwhile, Braun was allegedly double-dealing Comisar with private equity titan Carlyle Group to invest in his Ithaca Holdings, which has since been sold, in a deal that would allow him to make the same type of entertainment and consumer space investments that were to be the focus at Scope, the lawsuit claims.
Because Scope’s private equity strategy was in “direct conflict” with Carlyle’s deal, his contact was nullified, he claims. By April 2018, the former talent manager stopped funding Scope and paying Comisar’s salary.
Comisar is seeking $50 million in compensatory damages plus unspecific punitive damages in what amounts to a breach of contract suit against Braun, Bolno, Ithaca and Scope.
The lawsuit claims Bolno later told Comisar that “people in the entertainment industry do not honor their contractual obligations” and that if Comisar decided to go after them for breach of contract, “Braun would trash Comisar’s pristine reputation” and “ruin him financially.”
The suit says that Bolno threatened Comisar, telling him that “Braun is an expert in the media and would destroy his reputation in a press and litigation process.”
Braun and Bolno also separately had conversations with Comisar alluding to a “smear campaign” in which they would assert that the Wall Street veteran had been fired from his partner job at Goldman and that his career had come to an end at Guggenheim, both of which are not true, the suit says.
Comisar formally put Braun and Bolno on notice that they breached his contract, and not long after that, court papers said that the duo “falsely accused” Comisar of racism as a “predicate for his removal.” The suit did not spell out the racism claim.
The lawsuit claims that Carlyle’s acquisition for a slice of Ithaca closed mere months after the formation of Scope, and included a $100 million for investments and acquisitions.
Braun of course has a history with Carlyle, which helped Ithaca buy the rights to Swift’s old music. That deal attracted the wrath of the “Shake it Off” singer who called out the investment bank and other Braun backers at a Hollywood awards show in 2019.
In April, Braun sold Ithaca to South Korea entertainment giant HYPBE, which is home to boy band BTS, for $1 billion.