11/29/2006 12:00AM

Jackson sues agents again


California winemaker and Thoroughbred owner Jess Jackson has filed a second lawsuit against four bloodstock agents, alleging they inflated the purchase price of Buckram Oak Farm in Lexington, Ky., in order to collect about $500,000 in commissions.

The suit, first reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader, names four agents Jackson sued last year in California, alleging they received secret commissions and inflated the purchase prices of horses Jackson acquired privately and at auction. The agents are Emmanuel de Seroux, Bruce Headley, Frederic Sauque, and Brad Martin.

De Seroux's attorney has publicly denied that his client defrauded Jackson, and de Seroux has countersued, alleging that Jackson never paid the commissions due to his agents. The California suit could be heard by June, unless the parties reach a settlement before then.

The new suit over the Buckram Oak transaction comes just a month after the Kentucky Real Estate Commission issued its finding that the four agents acted illegally in receiving commissions when Jackson purchased the farm privately for $17.5 million, because they were not licensed to provide real estate services in Kentucky.

But the commission's investigator, Lana Williams, also noted in her report that when he purchased the property from the late Mahmoud Fustok, Jackson was aware that the farm previously had been listed for $16 million. Sauque has publicly said that Jackson's zeal to acquire the farm, now named Stonestreet Farm, caused him to bid high for it, even though he knew the sale price had been lower - a scenario Jackson's attorneys have denied.

A California judge dismissed the Buckram Oak purchase from Jackson's initial lawsuit earlier this year, ruling that real estate transactions in Kentucky are outside California courts' jurisdiction.