Billionaire’s ex-wife files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
Anyone who has filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will sympathize with one couple’s reflection on the years leading up their bankruptcy filing: “We spent too much, too fast.” While not everyone who files for personal bankruptcy is a millionaire socialite who owns a vineyard, a $100 million mansion, and millions of dollars worth of jewelry, furniture, and antiques, it seems that Patricia Kluge’s path to bankruptcy is not entirely different from most filers.
Kluge is a native of Great Britain who, in the 1980s, married the late billionaire John Kluge. The couple divorced in 1990, and Kluge went on to marry twice more. About ten years ago, Kluge and her current husband, William Moses, began work on a passion project: building a 776-acre vineyard with the hopes of creating a world-renowned wine from Virginia.
Although the couple had some success – their wine has been served at the White House – the vineyard, like many other small businesses in Georgia and throughout the country, was not immune to the economic recession. They soon found themselves unable to make loan payments, and the vineyard was seized by their lender.
After putting everything they owned into the failed vineyard, the couple found themselves in a precarious financial situation. They began to sell off some big ticket items, such as platinum and diamond jewelry and Cartier watches, furniture and antiques from their famed Virginia home, and even the home itself (the house ultimately went into bankruptcy and was sold for $15 million at auction).
However, these efforts fell short, and the couple was forced to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week, citing $50 million in debt. Their remaining assets will be sold off to pay creditors.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Socialite and Wine Maven Files for Bankruptcy,” Jacqueline Palank, 21 June 2011