Photographer Annie Leibovitz sued in NY for unpaid fees

Photographer Annie Leibovitz arrives for the Barbie Runway Show at Fashion Week in New York, in this February 14, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York investment firm sued Annie Leibovitz on Monday, saying the celebrity photographer owes it more than $800,000 in fees as part of its role in securing a new financing deal to sort out her debts.

Brunswick Capital Partners LP said in a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court that Leibovitz hired the firm last year to find investors to help her resolve her debts after Leibovitz ran into financial problems.

The renowned photographer has snapped portraits of numerous famous people, from John Lennon to Michelle Obama.

Eventually, the suit said, a deal was struck last month with Los Angeles-based private equity firm Colony Capital, but Brunswick was not paid a finders fee for the deal, nor did it receive payment for its services and expenses.

Brunswick “introduced Colony Capital to defendants,” the suit said.

Leibovitz owes Brunswick a 2 percent “success fee” on the more than $40 million loan by Colony secured in early March, according to the suit, as well as more than $315,000 in fees for the firm’s services.

The 60-year-old photographer got into financial difficulties last year when Art Capital Group threatened to sue her and seize control of her entire photography collection and two properties for violating the terms of a $24 million loan.

The two parties reached a deal last September allowing Leibovitz to buy back control of her work, which had been put up as collateral.

Reporting by Basil Katz; editing by Christine Kearney and Will Dunham