By JOSE MARTINEZ | DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER | Nov 23, 2010
Three European catwalkers sued their former modeling agency on Tuesday, claiming it preyed on “less powerful, foreign" beauties and cheated them out of cash.
The company quickly shot back, saying the models are ingrates who should be happy they were brought to the U.S. and turned into stars.
It’s the latest skirmish in a court battle between top agencies Next Management and Ford Models.
Estonian eye-catcher Karmen Pedaru and Polish pretties Anna Jagodzinska and Aleksandra Cywinska launched their U.S. careers at Next and then defected to Ford.
Next hit back by suing Ford for poaching - the same thing Ford accused Next managers of in other lawsuits.
Now the models themselves have gotten in on the legal action - claiming in court papers that Next honchos Joel Wilkenfeld and Faith Kates ripped them off.
The suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court says Pedaru is owed at least $400,000, Jagodzinska is out $230,000, and Cywinska was cheated out of $30,000.
Next lawyer David Jaroslawicz scoffed at the allegations.
“These young ladies have a lawyer with a very active imagination," he said.
“We don’t prey on anyone. We got them here legally and turned them into high-fashion models and they can’t even say ‘thank you,'" he said.
A lawyer for the models did not return calls.
BY JOSE MARTINEZ | Thursday, May 20, 2010| NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A battle over beauties between two top modeling agencies keeps getting uglier.
Next Management is suing Ford Models, accusing the rival firm of the “height of gall" for poaching a pair of Polish knockouts and an Estonian stunner from its stable of lovelies.
“These are top models that Ford has stolen," said Elizabeth Eilender, a lawyer for Next Management. “This is an outrage."
The blowup over models Anna Jagodzinska, Karmen Pedaru and Anna Cywinskya is the latest catwalk catfight between Ford and Next, who have previously tangled in court over Danish and Brazilian models and one looker hyped as “the next Cindy Crawford.
Jagodzinska, a Vogue cover girl from Poland who goes by Anna J., has modeled for Tommy Hilfiger and Jimmy Choo and is ranked by Models.com as the No. 8 model in the world.
Pedaru, a one-time member of the Estonian national women’s soccer team, is No. 23.
The suit, filed yesterday in Manhattan Supreme Court, accuses Agneiszka Ponarski, a longtime Next booker, of scheming to lure the models to Ford even before she was hired there in March.
Ponarski, who specialized in Eastern European models, is accused of exploiting her relationships with the three women to get them to bail out on Next.
“These models completely ignored their written contracts to go to Ford," Eilender said.
A Ford spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
The suit also charges that the legendary firm founded by Jerry Ford - which helped launch the careers of Christie Brinkley and Brooke Shields - doesn’t play by the rules ever since Russian owners took over.
“They totally ignore the American legal system and rule of law," Eilender said. “Written contracts? Who cares?"
“These models completely ignored their written contracts to go to Ford."
Ford sued Next three times last year, after losing out on catwalk talents including leggy Kendra Spears, who’s billed as “the next Cindy Crawford."
By Dareh Gregorian | May 21, 2010 | New York Post
All’s not fair in leggy lovelies and war.
Next Management is accusing rival agency Ford Models of engaging in un-American behavior by poaching three of its immigrant models.
“Ford, which is no longer owned by the Ford family, has been taken over by Russian nationals who totally ignore the American legal system" with their “campaign to raid Next’s businesses," the modeling superpower charges in papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Next’s indignation is somewhat surprising — Ford has sued the agency three times in recent years for stealing several of its models, including heralded up-and-comer Kendra Spears.
Spears “is an all-American beauty who many have described as ‘the next Cindy Crawford,’ " and “one of the most important young models to emerge on the fashion scene in years," says the most recent Ford suit, which is still pending.
Next, however, maintains that Ford crossed the line by snatching their models, Polish pretties Anna Aleksandra Cywinska and Anna Maria Jagodzinska (a k a Anna J.) and exotic Estonian Karmen Pedaru.
“It’s completely different" from Ford’s complaints with the agency, Next lawyer Elizabeth Eilender said. “It’s a completely different situation with different models. Completely different."
The suit says that Next President Joel Wilkenfeld had personally petitioned the Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow the three to work in the US and that all three are under contract.
The suit also names former Next booker Agneiszka Ponarski, who it says ignored the six-month non-compete clause in her contract and started working for Ford while “still operating out of Next’s offices."
It was Ponarski who allegedly orchestrated the models’ defection, along with Ford general counsel Doreen Small, who “as an attorney . . . knew this behavior was illegal and inappropriate and nevertheless induced and arranged for the model defendants to breach their contracts with Next."
Ford’s conduct caused Next “great financial harm," the suit says. It seeks unspecified money damages, including the models’ commissions, and for Ford to “cease and desist acting illegally and improperly by enticing and luring models under written contract and being represented by Next to switch to Ford."
A rep for Ford declined comment.
Ford’s suit accused Next — which is home to supermodels Daniela Pestova and Molly Sims — of poaching their bookers and using them to lure away models who were still under contract.
“Incredibly, this is the sixth time in less than a year that Next has wrongfully acquired . . . models and employees under exclusive contract with Ford," including stunners Agnete Hegelund, Natalia Andrade and Pamela Semmache, the May 2009 suit states.