What Imran Mukati wanted from Wedding Crashers writer Steve Faber was the script for a TV pilot: a “Sex and the City for guys” inspired by the dating experiences of Mukati and his friends.
What Mukati got for his $75,000, according to a suit filed in federal court, was nothing.
Mukati, 32, filed the civil suit Jan. 23 in California Central District Court, Western Division in Los Angeles.
He’s suing Faber on nine counts including fraudulent inducement, defamation, and breach of contract. The suit calls for remedies including delivery of the script, or return of the $75,000 plus unspecified damages.
Faber has until March 15 to respond. Faber’s entertainment attorney Jeff Frankel confirmed that Faber had retained a separate litigation attorney.
Frankel said he would pass along an interview request to Faber and the litigation attorney. That message, along with another request via LinkedIn, went unreturned.
Mukati was born in Karachi, Pakistan. “All I remember was I took a horse carriage to school and I had a pet goat,” he says. When he was five, Mukati moved with his family to Buffalo Grove, where he grew up with dreams of someday breaking into the entertainment business.
He got a finance degree from DePaul in 2001, worked for Morgan Stanley for eight years, and then cofounded the investment firm Andes Capital Group.
Mukati says he was introduced to Faber by a mutual friend at NATPE 2010. They hit it off, Mukati says, and agreed to develop a TV series that they would shop to networks together.
Mukati says Faber offered to work at a fraction of his usual rate, a “brother discount,” on the condition that he be paid fully in advance, contrary to standard practice. According to the complaint, Mukati and Faber agreed to be equal partners in any revenue generated from the pilot, irrespective of the writer’s fee.
According to their July 15, 2011 contract, Faber agreed to deliver the script within 16 weeks of receiving $75,000 payment by Mukati. The suit asserts that Mukati finished paying Faber Aug. 23, and that the screenplay was due Dec. 24.
But somewhere along the way things went sour. While Faber insisted throughout August that he was making progress on the script, by Oct. 13, according to the complaint, Faber sent Mukati’s girlfriend a text message stating “you guys and your friends will get a cheap pilot.”
Mukati says that in November, Frankel requested a 12 — week extension on Faber’s behalf — which Mukati refused. “That didn’t make sense,” Mukati says. “He said he was working on it since July.”
After that, Mukati says, Faber “basically disappeared,” not responding to Mukati’s repeated attempts at contact.
“Our idea was to get the pilot [script] and present it to the network before the holiday,” Mukati says. They were aiming for Showtime or HBO, but also were prepared to make it “network friendly” for a broadcaster.
The complaint states that Mukati sent a letter to Faber Jan. 10 demanding a return of the $75,000 and “cessation of defamation.” According to the complaint, Faber “published numerous false statements,” such as that Mukati was stalking Faber, using drugs, and was a “person of interest” with federal authorities.
Mukati still wants to develop the pilot on his own. “We’ll fight to get this resolved as quickly as possible,” he maintais. “I’m going to be in the entertainment business.”
In a separate venture, Mukati and his business partner Katie Soo are also developing Own Your Hollywood, a film investment crowdfunding platform. That startup is pending congressional approval of a bill that would modify investment law and authorize the model.
They’re aiming to launch with a pool of 100 projects budgeted at $1 million each—the maximum allowed under the latest version of the bill.