A woman who says she had a lengthy relationship with a man who lived a mysterious life in a home filled with numerous weapons and ammunition and claimed to have ties to well-known politicians is suing his estate to recover nearly $2 million she alleges he conned her into spending on his behalf before his 2015 death.
Michelle Lyons’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants the estate of Jeffrey Lash and its two representatives, Sanford Sheklow and Leslie Parness. She’s seeking $1.8 million as well as punitive damages.
Attorney Sonja Panajotovic, for the Lash estate, could not be immediately reached.
Lash died on July 4, 2015, at the age of 60. His decomposing body was found in an SUV parked near his Pacific Palisades condominium.
Lash was reportedly fiercely private, rarely used his real name and never explained to those around him exactly what he did for a living. Los Angeles police said they found more than 1,200 firearms, tons of ammunition and $230,000 in cash in his condo.
According to the lawsuit that Lyons filed Friday, she had a longtime romantic relationship with Lash that began in 1984. He moved into Lyons’ one- bedroom apartment in 1986 after claiming he lost his own home due to a “terrorist act” and had spent his entire fortune “trying to end the terrorist group,” according to a creditor’s claim Lyons previously filed against — and rejected by — the Lash estate.
The two lived together for 12 years, Lyons’ suit states. She says that during their relationship, they had numerous verbal agreements in which she agreed to buy numerous items for Lash, ranging from firearms and ammunitions to food and clothing.
“In return, (Lash) promised that he would repay the sums expended,” the suit says. “Specifically, (Lash) promised that he was expecting to receive significant sums of money as a result of his profession as a government operative and that upon receipt of such sums he would repay (Lyons) the sums expended plus interest.”
To convince Lyons to make purchases on his behalf, Lash told her that he was an independent contractor with “government contacts and connections” to former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Vice President Joseph Biden, according to her lawsuit.
Lash also intimidated Lyons by saying her refusal to buy items for him would subject her to physical and emotional harm, the suit alleges. He told her that if she did not help him as he requested that he would die, according to the lawsuit.
Lyons says she “became his emotional hostage” and continued to feel bound to Lash even after he began living with another woman, Catherine Nebron. Lyons went to Nebron’s home nightly and continued as before to provide goods and cash to Lash, her suit says.
In reality, Lash was “a con man, lying and deceiving (Lyons) and using her for his own financial gain and benefit,” her suit says. Within months of his death, she found out that he was “involved in romantic relationships with multiple women and that he had been using aliases and assumed names to avoid detection of his lies,” according to Lyons’ lawsuit.
Lash “was not employed with a government agency and had been lying to her about his employment for their entire relationship,” the suit says.
Nebron filed her own creditor’s claim against Lash’s estate in January, claiming she’s owed $2.5 million for expenses she incurred on his behalf, including a $1.2 million advance of cash.
“He convinced Catherine and others that he was an undercover agent of some sort and that she should give him substantial amounts of money …,” the creditor’s claim states.
—City News Service