Selling Stardom: Settlement reached in case involving talent agent Lynn Venturella

Selling Stardom: Settlement reached in case involving talent agent Lynn Venturella
Uliana Sivashova is one of the two fashion models who sued her former talent agent, Lynn Venturella, and a Caesars Entertainment entity, alleging that their images were used without their permission. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Two fashion models have dropped their lawsuit against a Caesars Entertainment entity and their former talent agent, Lynn Venturella, after reaching an out-of-court settlement.

The case, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2014, centered on a photo shoot that Venturella booked for the models. The lawsuit alleged that the images of models Uliana Sivashova and Natalie White were used without their permission.

Corner Investment, the Caesars entity, settled with the two women last month, said their attorney Matt Whibley. He said that terms of the deal were confidential.

Corner Investment is continuing to pursue a judgment against Venturella and her former company, Pinkerton Model & Talent Co., according to a summons form filed with the court March 25. Venturella and Pinkerton have 30 days after the serving of the summons to file a written response.

In its Selling Stardom series last year, The Times reported that Venturella or Pinkerton have been sued in civil court at least 25 times, and at least 25 separate claims have been filed against her or Pinkerton in Small Claims Court.

Some of Venturella's former clients accused her of pocketing fees they were owed for acting and modeling work, making promises she couldn't keep, pressing them into spending money and not acting in their best interest.

Venturella did not respond to requests for comment. But in an interview with The Times last year, she acknowledged that she had at times taken money owed to some Pinkerton clients to pay the agency's debts. "It went to lawyers' fees, it went to stay open, it went to pay people, it went to survive — to keep the agency going," she said.

In May 2013, Sivashova and White participated in a photo shoot for the Gansevoort Hotel then being developed by Caesars in Las Vegas. The women's images were to be displayed in the lobby of the hotel.

Caesars later dropped plans for the Gansevoort and eventually opened the Cromwell Las Vegas hotel on the site instead. Sivashova said that soon after the Cromwell opened she learned that purses and other items featuring her image were for sale in the hotel's gift shop, and decided to pursue a lawsuit over the use of her likeness on the products.

She told The Times that she was shocked to see a court filing by Corner Investment claiming that the hotel company had already settled the matter by paying $78,000 to Venturella, and that Sivashova and White had signed off on the deal.

Sivashova said that she never received any of the money. According to a court filing in the case, Sivashova and White contended that Venturella forged their signatures to finalize the settlement. Corner Investment cited those claims in a filing demanding that Venturella and Pinkerton return the $78,000 to the court until the matter could be fully resolved.

Attorneys for Corner Investment did not respond to requests for comment. Neither Venturella nor Pinkerton, which closed in 2015, has filed any responses in the case, a review of court records shows.

Twitter: @DanielNMiller