Professional patient Andy Behrman's last job as a PR agent for high-end baby clothing store Petit TrÃ©sor ended badly. He's suing the shop for $170,000, claiming owners Nina Takesh and Samantha Winch (pictured) didn't pay him for the publicity he created for their West Hollywood and Brentwood shops.
Behrman became news in the drug business recently after he tried and failed to extract $7.5 million out of Bristol-Myers Squibb in return for not talking about Abilify, its anti-psychotic drug. Behrman was a paid speaker for Abilify, but he says he lied about suffering from its side effects.
While the suit, filed April 27, is a straightforward tale of allegedly unpaid bills, a look at the publicity that Behrman created for Petit TrÃ©sor holds some clues as to why the store may have stopped paying him.
In May 2008, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' lawyers accused the store of falsely claiming that the couple bought $350,000 to $400,000 in baby clothes at the store. The cease-and-desist letter was somehow leaked to TMZ, and Andy Behrman was quoted in the TMZ story on baby Suri's "outrageously expensive designer Scientoloduds." Behrman admitted to E! that he communicated with reporters about the apparently non-existent visit by the Cruises. MacLean's magazine quoted Behrman describing his modus operandi:
"When Tori Spelling goes into Petit TrÃ©sor, she knows there will be 10 photographers there because I'm going to call," he says. Even negative publicity has burnished the store's celebrity cred. In May, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes thrust the company into headlines with a cease-and-desist letter that complained bogus information had been leaked that they had dropped between US$350,000 and US$400,000 at Petit TrÃ©sor in the two years since their daughter had been born, in an "off the record" quote to Life & Style magazine "for the purpose of enhancing [the store's] image and obtaining a commercial advantage." (Behrman says the number was an estimate of what they'd spent in total, not only at the store.)Two sources familiar with the episode tell BNET that Behrman's clients were horrified that the Cruise story was not true.
Behrman is claiming he was promised by Petit Tresor:
- 1% of gross income
- 7% equity stake
- $22,500 in back fees
- $7,500 in commission
- For a total of $170,000 in fees.
(Download a copy of Berhman's suit vs. Petit TrÃ©sor here.)