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Chris And Jacqueline Laurita: New Movement In Signature Apparel Bankruptcy Case

It's mind-boggling that it has been almost five years since Signature Apparel Group filed for bankruptcy!  The company, owned by former Real Housewives of New Jersey star Chris Laurita and his brother Joseph filed for bankruptcy in late 2009, despite having record income of $250 million during the years of 2005-2009.  The bankruptcy has been held up by a number of a issues, namely the accusation that the Lauritas frivolously spent eight million dollars for personal use. 

According to the complaint at the time, Chris and Joseph were accused of "draining the company of all its funds and assets in order to support their families’ increasingly opulent lifestyle of private jets, limousines, extravagant parties, premium automobiles, designer clothing, ostentatious home furnishings and lavish vacations,” the complaint filed November 2, 2010 alleged. “Signature’s assets were misused to make outright and unjustified payments to Laurita family members, and to fund the operations of the Laurita brothers’ other companies and business ventures.”

The Laurita brothers and their families allegedly blew the company's money on:

  •     Nearly $2 million in credit card payments for the Laurita Family, including payments to more than 40 bank accounts
  •     At least $331,637 for payments on no less than eleven leased cars, including a Bentley and a Maserati
  •     At least $284,793 in airline travel expenses for the Laurita Family
  •     At least $145,894 for private airplane rentals for the Laurita Family
  •     At least $7,280 for travel agent expenses for the Laurita Family
  •     At least $755,184 to defendant Christopher Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
  •   At least $784,160 of disbursements directed by the Laurita Director Defendants (Chris and Joseph) to unknown recipients, without any documentation

Chris had denied the allegations but the bankruptcy case and all the surrounding issues/suits rage on to this day!!  Not much has happened other than some letters and minor motions back and forth until the past month or so.  I'm going to admit right up front that there are so many players and side issues in this case that I can't make heads or tails of the court papers. It's insane.  And I cannot even begin to imagine how much money the Laurita family is dishing out to their lawyers.  It has to be a staggering amount. 

I downloaded the documents filed.  There was a hearing set for June 17th.  But there is still so much bickering and back and forth between the parties involved that it seems like this will never get resolved.  And even when it does, it's going to be MESSY.   I'm attaching the letters and court filings.  It seems that the parties are no where near ready to come to any sort of agreement or settlement on any of the matters.  One side says there's been no attempt at mediation, the other says there was mediation and small settlements offered, but nobody's happy! 

Here are a few of the documents filed in May and June. 

  • Motion to Approve Compromise /Responsible Person's Motion Pursuant To Bankruptcy Code Section 105 And Rule 9019 Of The Federal Rules Of Bankruptcy Procedure For Entry Of An Order Authorizing And Approving Settlement Agreement And Releases With ROC Defendants filed by Michael S. Fox on behalf of Anthony Labrosciano, Responsible Person for Signature Apparel Group LLC with hearing to be held on 6/17/2014 at 10:00 AM at Courtroom 523 (REG) Responses due by 6/10/2014,. 
  • Objection to Motion for an Order Authorizing and Approving the Settlement Agreement and Releases with the ROC Defendants (related document(s)114) filed by Andrew T Hambelton on behalf of Iconix Brand Group, Inc., Studio IP Holdings LLC. (Hambelton, Andrew)
  • Letter to the Hon. Robert E. Grossman from Aurora Cassirer, Esq. filed by Lee William Stremba on behalf of Adeline Laurita, Christopher Laurita, Jacqueline Laurita, Joseph Laurita. (Stremba, Lee)
  • Reply to Motion /Responsible Person's Reply To Responses To Motion Pursuant To Bankruptcy Code Section 105 And Rule 9019 Of The Federal Rules Of Bankruptcy Procedure For Entry Of An Order Authorizing And Approving Settlement Agreement And Releases With Roc Defendants (related document(s) 114, 117) filed by Michael S. Fox on behalf of Anthony Labrosciano, Responsible Person for Signature Apparel Group LLC. (Fox, Michael)

There was a funny mention about the Lauritas claiming poverty while at the same time portraying the lifestyle of a rich family on Real Housewives. But don't they all? I know a certain one who claims he earns zero to avoid paying support for his kid(s). 

I feel like we need an entire category on the site dedicated solely to the legal messes of Bravolebrities!  And to hire a lawyer just for the purpose of explaining the documents to us all.  I really tried to weed through all of it, but it's overwhelming and confusing as all hell.  If anyone with the legal background can make sense of it, shoot me an email!   Who knew you needed a law degree just to follow the lives of your favorite reality stars?!

The basic gist is that the Lauritas were allegedly using millions of the company's money to fund their lifestyle.  They deny it, but it looks like their day in court is approaching FINALLY.  Maybe.  They'll be back in court July 7th.  According to the schedule of events, "Notice of Proposed Order and Presentment filed by Jonathan Koevary on behalf of Anthony Labrosciano, the Responsible Person for Signature Apparel Group LLC. with presentment to be held on 7/7/2014 at 12:00 PM at Courtroom 523 (REG) Objections due by 6/30/2014."

See the latest court docs below.  If you open the Laurita 257 document, they use a lot of the old filings/docs as evidence, so you can see previous documents in the case toward the end of the pdf. 

laurita-7

laurita-257

letter

TELL US – WILL THE LAURITA'S WIND UP WITH ANY LEGAL OR CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES IN THIS CASE?  CAN YOU MAKE HEADS OR TAILS OF IT?

Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

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