Many people are shocked to find out that millionaires also run into financial troubles, so you can imagine the astonishment when billionaire Patricia Kluge filed for bankruptcy. Kluge, a british-born former model was once married to the richest man in America, John Kluge, who topped the Forbes 400 list in 1989 with his fortune of $5.2 billion. Their 1990 divorce granted Patricia a settlement of $1 billion. Part of the hefty settlement included their estimated $100 million Albemarle estate, a 24,000 square foot Georgian home.
Now Kluge has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection after her 45-room Virginia estate was foreclosed on. Kluge and her new husband William Moses allegedly owe between $10 and $50 million with assets between $1 and $10 million. So, how does a billionaire run out of money?
Kluge had a famously opulent lifestyle, she once hosted a $1 million birthday party, but even the extravagant spending wasn’t her demise. Kluge’s financial downfall was the failure of her 960-acre Vineyard and winery. The couple invested $27 million in turning their sole Vineyard into a chain, turning their Kluge estate into a virtual mecca for fine wine. Not only did the couple invest $27 million of their own money into the venture, but also took out $65 million in loans over the past five years to expand the Vineyards into an over the top luxury subdivision of 24 multi-million dollar homes with pools, outdoor kitchens, tennis courts and horse trails. This was the exact time the housing crisis hit. The homes’ values plunged and “Vineyard Estates” could not attract any buyers.
Kluge did try to salvage her finances by putting her Albemarle property up for sale. It was originally listed at $100 million, in the middle of a housing crisis, and by 2010 the list price was slashed to $48 million then again to $24 million before the bank foreclosed. Kluge also sold valuable artwork, chandeliers and a rare clock in an attempt to bridge her enormous financial gap. In 2009, she also put her Virginia property up for sale her $100 million. The home attracted no buyers and was foreclosed on later that year.
The winery became the last valuable property Kluge owned and she sold that to friend and billionaire Real Estate mogul, Donald Trump for a mere $5 million. Trump did offer to employ Kluge and her husband at their former winery, a far fall from billionaire owner to bankrupt employee.
The Killeen and Waco bankruptcy attorneys at Davis Law understand that bankruptcy can happen to anyone. The downturn of the economy has affected nearly everyone in the U.S. and unforeseen changes in the market can turn a solid investment into financial nightmare.
Jeff Davis is the Owner of the Davis law firm and a highly experienced Killeen and Waco bankruptcy attorney. To find out more information about a Killeen or Waco bankruptcy lawyer, please visit www.jeffdavislawfirm.com.