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Snyder, Berenson Come to Blows

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Parent Files Suit Claiming False Info in Deal With Wickersham
BOSTON--Snyder Communications has filed suit against the principals of Berenson, Isham & Partners alleging misrepresentation. The suit stems from the buyout last year of the Boston shop by Wickersham Hunt Schwantner.
Bethesda, Md.-based Snyder, the publicly traded parent firm of Wickersham and Arnold Communications, filed the suit in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.
Snyder alleges that "Berenson and Isham had made material misrepresentations and failed to disclose critical information . . . concerning the status of [the agency's] business and its troubled [client] relationships," according to court documents.
The suit alleges that "client relations problems" between Berenson, Isham and several key accounts, including Boston Acoustics, Fidelity Investments, Wearguard and Club Med, were not communicated to Snyder at the time of the sale [Adweek, Nov. 23, 1998].
It further charges that increased earnings projections Berenson, Isham made for those clients were inaccurate.
In their response to the suit, principals Paul Berenson and Carolyn Isham deny any misrepresentation, asserting that "since approximately 50 percent of its clients turned over on an annual basis, it was not possible to guarantee a specific amount of future revenue."
The response alleges that senior management at Wickersham "has continually interfered with all efforts by Berenson, Isham to service its existing clients and to generate new clients."
Snyder is seeking to rescind the agreement it made with Berenson and Isham, recover the stock paid to the pair and receive monetary damages. The parties have entered the discovery phase; no court date has been set.
"[Berenson and Isham] feel they were treated horribly," said attorney Edward Kutchin of Kutchin & Rufo in Boston, which is representing the pair. Additionally, Kutchin said Snyder breached an employment contract when it terminated Berenson in June. Berenson is seeking redress.
Attorney Nicholas Nesgos, representing Snyder, refuted Berenson's assertion, claiming his client considers the entire buyout null and void.
Isham works at Boston-based Wickersham as an executive vice president; former Berenson, Isham president Anders Ekman, who is no longer at Wickersham, did not return calls.
Isham and Berenson also did not return calls. Wickersham partner Amy Hunt declined comment.