NEW YORK – What's in a name? In Jessica Simpson's case, at least $15 million.
A company that markets celebrities' names says it set up the deal that got Jessica Simpson Brand Management LLC $15 million for worldwide rights to her name to market certain merchandise, including clothing.
But the company, Icon Licensing Group LLC, says it wasn't paid its commission and has filed a lawsuit to get it. In papers filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, Icon says it is owed at least $180,000 by the JSBM company.
Icon's court papers say the company entered into an agreement May 9, 2005, with Andrew Kirpalani, owner and manager of JSBM, in which Icon would get a percentage commission if it successfully finalized a sale of Simpson's name.
Icon's court papers say it arranged a deal between JSBM and Camuto Consulting Group Inc. in June 2005. Under the deal, court papers say, "the rights to the worldwide master license for the trademark `Jessica Simpson' were sold, transferred and otherwise assigned to Camuto for $15,000,000."
The agreement called for Icon to get 10 percent of the amount over the first $10 million after certain credits and discounts were taken out, which meant Icon should have received 10 percent of $1.8 million.
Court papers filed Friday say that JSBM through Kirpalani, without cause or justification, "directed, instructed, advised and otherwise caused Camuto not to pay the commission to Icon," despite Camuto's willingness to do so.
Icon's lawyer, Robert A. Schachter, said Tuesday, "We don't know who said what to whom, but somebody caused Icon not to get paid."
He said the 25-year-old singer-actress, who wasn't named in the lawsuit, was not involved in the JSBM deal.
Kirpalani didn't return calls to his office for comment.
Simpson and her husband, 32-year-old singer Nick Lachey, recently announced their separation after three years of marriage.