A socialite once romantically involved with retired automobile executive Lee Iacocca was sued Friday by a married couple who alleges she failed to turn over jewelry, artwork and furniture she promised to put up as collateral if she was unable to pay back more than $400,000 she obtained so she could stay in her upscale Westwood condominium.
Michael Zugsmith and Rachel Howitt’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges breach of contract and fraud by Patricia Kennedy, who also was once the girlfriend of Oakwood Worldwide furnished apartments founder, chairman and CEO Howard Ruby, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit states that Kennedy currently owes $421,460 when interest is included. The couple seeks a court order preventing Kennedy from offering for sale any of the jewelry, furniture or artwork, although the lawsuit also states they believe she has already sold some of the items, in part to “support her extravagant style of living and to keep up appearances that she is not financially destitute.”
Kennedy could not be immediately reached for comment.
According to the complaint, Kennedy acquired the expensive personal items, which also include a Bentley and a Porsche, through her “previous marriage and multiple engagements.”
In about 2011, Kennedy began leasing a unit in The California Condominiums on Wilshire Boulevard, the suit states. Two years later, the condo was sold to another landlord who kept Kennedy, but required her to provide assurances she could continue making her monthly payments, the suit states.
In 2013, Kennedy approached Howitt, her longtime friend, about helping her provide the written guaranty to her landlord, the suit states. The guaranty obligated Howitt and her husband to pay $9,500 in monthly lease payments the first year and $10,000 the second year if Kennedy could not make the installments, the suit states.
Kennedy entered into about 25 pledge agreements in which she agreed to turn over personal property as collateral if she could not repay any money loaned by the couple, according to the lawsuit.
Howitt and Zugsmith began loaning Kennedy money in October 2013 and she developed a pattern of not making her rental payments, forcing the couple to pay the landlord under the guaranty, the suit states.
Kennedy eventually defaulted under her obligations to the couple, but she refused to allow them to auction some of her jewelry and watches at the Bonhams and Sotheby’s auction houses, the suit states. The couple contacted Kennedy at the end of 2015 to ask if she intended to pay back any of the more than $364,000 in principal, but she failed to respond to them or to their lawyer, the suit alleges.
To date, Howitt and Zugsmith have only collected $4,675 from the sale of two minor pieces of Kennedy’s jewelry, according to the lawsuit.
The couple believes Kennedy is unable to repay the money owed in cash because she has no current income, the suit alleges. They also believe Kennedy is soon to be evicted from her condo and that she continues hiding some of the collateral personal property, the suit states.
— City News Service
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