Friday, November 14, 2003

The rich are different, said Fitzgerald to Hemingway. Replied Hemingway, they have more money.

Do the differences end there? Well, at the very least, they seem to have a different court system. By which I refer not so much to the acquittal of Robert Durst, who did in fact shoot his neighbor, dice the body, and dump the pieces in the ocean (the prosecutors charged murder one, and... ahem... didn't prove intent), as the strangely uncivil lawsuit of Pritzker vs. Pritzker.

The basis of this action, as you may have heard, is that young Liesel Pritzker was stunned to discover her personal trust fund reduced to a mere $160 million, and wants to know what the hell happened to the rest of it. To most of us, this might not sound like a very sympathetic position -- if someone told me I could have $160 million, but no more, I'd find a way to cope. But Liesel insists it's not about the money:

"This is not about cash," insists Liesel, who speaks animatedly, in a slightly husky voice. "It's not like I think if we win, it'll be: 'Buy the Bentley! Bling bling!'" Why pursue the case? "I filed because I wanted to know what happened. It's going to be tricky, and it will take a long time. But I just need to know what happened."

And astoundingly enough, there may be something to this. Not only has Liesel been barred by the courts from actually seeing the terms of her own family's trust agreements, but even the legal arguments concerning the ban are themselves off limits.

Meanwhile, the litigation has yielded a few hints of what the family is trying to keep quiet. What has become public so far is that the family has been engaged in a decades-long project of tax evasion avoidance involving shipping the family money to trusts in off-shore tax havens. Curiously, the dodge is illegal for anyone who tries to start now, but old trust funds like the Pritzkers' have been grandfathered in. And it's not entirely unlikely that there's something even more, well, aggressive that they're trying to keep under wraps.

Still... ummm... Liesel, honey, in the interest of making yourself sound at least realistic: if you've got $160 million, the Bentley is already well within your budget. You're asking for airplane bling at the very least...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liesel Pritzker is "WELL" with-in her rights and and it totally privlaged to win at the VERY least 1 Billion Dollars. Its too bad in Court it didn't turn out to quit that much. Anyone who says anything differnt is a total idiot and obviously does not understand the curcumstances. Her gradfather set up the trust. Her father screwed her. People that think she is being greety are just haters. Your just pissed off that you didn't come from a faimily worth billions.

6:25 PM  
Blogger charles said...

Are you trolling? I don't know nearly enough about these trusts to say with any certainty who owes what to whom here (and unless you're a Pritzker or one of their lawyers, you don't either), but I said pretty clearly in this nearly four-year-old blog post that the trustees' legal maneuvering seemed awfully fishy at the time.

3:56 PM  

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