Crime author suing financial firm for €75m
Published 15/01/2013 | 05:00
Author Patricia Cornwell has sued her former financial firm for $100m (€75m).
On trial in Boston, defence lawyers portrayed Cornwell as a big spender, who wasted millions on a lavish lifestyle.
They suggested Cornwell and her spouse Staci Gruber, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, were spendthrifts who made frequent impulse purchases.
Among their expenses were a $40,000-a-month (€29,900) apartment in Trump Tower in New York, a $5m (€3.7m) private jet service, and $11m (€8.2m) to buy properties in Concord, Massachusetts.
Cornwell's case has been brought against Anchin, Block and Anchin, a New York firm that handles accounts and wealth management, as well as Evan Snapper, a former principal in the firm.
The author claimed that Anchin borrowed several million dollars from her fortune, including mortgages for property and a loan for the purchase of a helicopter. The firm also lost millions by moving her money into a high-risk investment portfolio without her permission, it has been alleged. But lawyers for Snapper and Anchin say that their clients were not to blame for the depletion of Cornwell's fortune, and that the fees they charged were fair. The writer, best known for crime novels featuring medical investigator Dr Kay Scarpetta, has accused the firm of negligence and breach of contract.
She said she fired the firm in 2009, after discovering her fortune had shrunk to under $13m (€9.7m)– the equivalent of one year's net income. "This case is, at its core, about trust," her lawyer Joan Lukey said at Boston Federal Court.