She’s been called a swindler, a grifter, and fraud. Taylor Armstrong of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is probably one of the most controversial women in the history of the franchise. Amid accusations of embezzlement and domestic violence, her husband Russell Armstrong committed suicide, leaving Taylor on the hook for all of his (their?) past shady dealings. Although many don’t buy her claims, Taylor insists she wasn’t a willing cohort to her husband’s crimes. She alleges that his threats of violence induced her to as she was told in regard to his business deals.
In one such deal, Russell and Taylor were accused of stealing money from investors of MyMedicalRecords.com (MMR). Once sued by the company, the couple was forced to disclose each investor who was defrauded. The case settled, with Russell paying the company $250,000. When MMR learned that the pair had neglected to name three investors, they sued again, with Russell killing himself two weeks later. Once again, MMR and Taylor have reached a settlement. According to the Daily Beast, even that settlement had some Armstrong shadiness involved as well…
“I’m growing and I’m really just focused on Kennedy and learning how to be a single woman and a single mom,” she shared. “I’m just so not ready.” Taylor admits it’s because she still isn’t over Russell Armstrong. “I still think about Russell every single day, and I still miss him terribly and I feel like I’m so far from ready. I don’t know if you just wake up and you’re ready, or how that works. But for me, for now, I really got some growing to do, I think, before I’ll be even ready to be a good judge of what’s good for me.”
Well, perhaps the reason Taylor isn’t ready to focus on a new relationship is she has bigger things to worry about – like a looming $1.5M lawsuit filed against her and her now deceased husband by MyMedicalRecords.com and NuWay Digital Services (NDS). Taylor heads to court this summer and it seems things are heading down a pretty treacherous path.
Today a routine hearing related to the case takes place. MMR alleges that Taylor was a willfully involved party, along with Russell, in pocketing missing investor monies and assisted in failing to disclose certain investors to MMR as part of a settlement agreement between the Armstrongs and MMR. They also state that Taylor misrepresented herself as being a member of the famous Ford Motor Family in order to “lure” investors. We all know this, but it’s worth repeating for scandal’s sake.
Controversy over Taylor Armstrong‘s memoir, published mere months after her estranged husband Russell Armstrong‘s suicide, has been attracting a lot of attention in the press – particularly because speculation over the truth behind her allegations has emerged.
Recent rumors have posited that Taylor’s antics and the negative attention she is receiving because of her penchant for dishonesty (along with a recent lawsuit that may involve Bravo) has Bravo seeing her as a “liability,” which will likely jeopardize her spot on next season’s cast. Well, Taylor is speaking out defending herself and her actions – and explaining why it’s important that she remain a part of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!
Standing by her decision to publish her book, Taylor insists her motive was not money. Who does she expect to believe that? “I know how it looks,” she says, responding to a question about capitalizing from Russell’s death. She claims she wanted people to start talking about the horrors of domestic violence. “If I didn’t think this would make a difference, I wouldn’t be doing it,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Trust me, you don’t make that much money off a book.” But you do make money off publicity tours, appearances, and advances associated with a book!
While Taylor is adamant she did not release this memoir with any untoward intentions, it is well-known that Russell’s family and friends–most vocally his sister Laurie Kelsoe —are insistent that the allegations Taylor makes are completely untrue and have made Russell seem like someone he was not. Laurie believes the show has “completely defaced his character,” telling Dr. Drew in a recent interview: “Shame on [Taylor] for doing this and for thinking that all he was was bad … if that’s the case, then why did she stay there and spend his money?”
Firing back, Taylor insists Laurie wasn’t a part of their lives and had no idea what went on behind closed doors. “There are a number of people who are trying to find their way into the story of my life with Russell,” Taylor asserts. “Russell’s sister Laurie Kelsoe … has no basis for saying anything about my life with Russell. She lives almost 1,500 miles away and saw our family on a small number of occasions.”
“The facts are there,” Taylor says of what went on in her marriage. But that is exactly the problem. There are no facts – only Taylor’s so-called recollections about what occurred. Which is why more questions are emerging about the validity of her claims. The LA Times asked Dr. Catherine Hwang, an orbital and oculo-plastics surgeon at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute, about orbital floor injuries.
Dr. Hwang, who did not treat Taylor, explains fractures of that nature can occur from a range of incidents. Taylor has maintained that she had no bruising after Russell “raised up one elbow and punched me hard, in the right eye.” Dr. Hwang finds that surprising, given Taylor’s age and the nature of the injury. “Usually, older patients have some sort of bruising,” Dr. Hwang mentioned. “But anything is possible.”
Taylor planned to write her book before Russell’s death – although she claims he was not aware of her intentions. If Russell had not passed away, Taylor says, “I don’t think I could have been as honest.” Citing the difficulty she had putting her life out there and down on paper, Taylor explains: “Bearing your soul to people is really hard.”
“I wanted it to be really raw and honest,”Taylor shared with OK! at Barnes & Noble at The Grove.
While Russell had no knowledge of her intentions to publish a book, Taylor recalls he had ascertained that news of her injuries would emerge in the media. “He did know, though, that the extent of the abuse would likely come out in the press.”
“I spent a couple of days in Cedars-Sinai after [the eye] incident. There were nurses around. Plenty of people saw me in the operating room. The odds of keeping that under wraps, I mean, come on. He absolutely knew it was all going to come out. That was really something he was dreading.”
“One of Russell’s big concerns, which he would bring up constantly after my eye incident, is, ‘Do you think the D.A. could press charges against me and put me in jail whether you press charges or not?’ I hate to say it, I would have wanted to protect him from that.”
As for her decision to release the novel memoir a “hot minute” after Russell took his life, Taylor believes it was imperative that she get her story out there quickly. “I just didn’t feel like waiting was necessary. Also, I didn’t want to wait until I had euphoric recall and forgetting about all of the things that had happened.”
“Unfortunately, there are so many people out there that are living in dangerous situations that I really felt like it was important enough for me to get this story out there and take the criticism that comes with it,” she adds.
And defending herself against any involvement in Russell’s financial dealings, Taylor a businesswoman herself, claims she had no role in his businesses. Multiple reports have come forward contesting this. “I scratch my head about the finance stuff all the time,” Taylor muses. “I’m still trying to pick up the pieces of the mess that was left behind.”
“I have days when I’m in a ball, where I just sit and stare at the wall and just cry. … I have every emotion in the world,” she says of dealing with the loss. “I have incredible sadness for Russell. I miss him, I long for him. But I’m angry with him for leaving this mess for me to clean up.” Apparently she’s resilient enough to hit the red carpet on weekly basis!
Confronting a recent report that she is having an affair with her married attorney, Taylor dismissed it as gossip. “Oh, it’s just ridiculous,” Taylor laughed. “I spent Valentine’s Day with my little girl and it was just beautiful for us. I am so focused on us right now and then to have this ridiculous stuff coming out in the press, is just frustrating for us, but what are you going to do? It’s what I signed up for.” And she wants to sign up for more!
Taylor thinks her story can help other woman, which is why she believes Bravo should include her in a third season of the show. “If there’s a Season 3, I think it’s important to see what happens next [for me],” she said. “I’m still working on myself. And I have to say for the first time in my life, I’m OK being alone. Every little thing that I thought was going to be so horrible, really hasn’t been. I think for a Season 3 it would be nice for people to see the progression … and the lows too, because it’s certainly not all good days.”
“There is a lot changing in my life right now and I think that people need to see what that looks like as I grow and get stronger, so I think that would be interesting!” I, personally, do not believe we need to see anymore of Taylor – but that’s just me!
[Photo Credit: Daniel Tanner/WENN.com]
THOUGHTS ON TAYLOR’S DECISION TO RELEASE HER STORY SO SOON AFTER RUSSELL’S DEATH? DO YOU WANT TO SEE TAYLOR RETURN FOR SEASON 3 OF RHOBH? DO YOU THINK SHE WILL BE ASKED BACK?
While Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is coming to an end, the off-screen drama is just beginning for Taylor Armstrong. Just days after a report that Bravo may be looking to give Taylor the axe, citing she is a liability, comes a report claiming Bravo and Taylor’s co-tarts fear they may be dragged into her courtroom drama!
Taylor is the recipient of a $1.5M lawsuit filed by MMRGlobal alleging that she and late husband Russell Armstrong participated in investor fraud and failed to uphold their end of a settlement agreement. Taylor heads to court July 11, 2012.
According to The Huffington Post, Bravo and some of her co-tarts are concerned about “becoming party to the the litigation” and being forced to participate in the court battle. Now that’s some Watch What Happens Live I want to see! What on earth would Adrienne Maloof wear to court? Gold extensions? Ruffles?
Just a little background information: MMRGlobal filed the suit against Taylor and Russell for breach-of-contract claiming he failed to follow the stipulations of a previously reached settlement deal. Russell was the largest shareholder of the then privately held company and was discovered misappropriating investor funds. He was removed from the board and settled with the company for $250,000. Taylor was also forced to sign a settlement agreement since she was found to be an equally involved party in allegedly scheming against investors and diverting shares of the company.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement the Armstrongs were required to identify anyone Russell sold MMRGlobal shares to; however he failed to do so and was subsequently sued by the company. Russell committed suicide shortly after being served with the suit. One of the chief concerns in the lawsuit is the alleged hiding of missing investor monies in an off-shore Cook Island account known as the Taylor Family Trust. Previous investigation revealed Taylor had made several deposits into the account over the years. Much of the money the Armstrongs were accused of misappropriating remains unaccounted for.
Taylor’s defense against the MMRGlobal suit is said to be that she was forced to participate in Russell’s dealings under duress, or, in other words he was abusive towards her and she feared for her safety and that of their daughter. Is it a coincidence that her new memoir, which chronicles the alleged abuse she faced at the hands of her now deceased husband, is hitting shelves months before she heads to trial?
“Where are the millions of dollars that flowed through their bank accounts and pockets? We have no reason to believe that Russell was broke or that Taylor is a victim of Russell without the ability to pay damages to MMR,” asserts MMRGlobal CEO Bob Lorsch.
As for how Taylor’s various legal troubles could involve the network, Bravo employees may have to testify about the network’s financial arrangements with the couple (such as how in the hell she got $6ok to throw a birthday party!) or how much they were earning to participate in the show. As well as if during the course of filming they observed the Armstrongs exhibit any behavior that could be pertinent in case. Bravo, of course, doesn’t want to be seen as responsible for or knowledgeable about any of the Armstrong’s potentially shady business dealings.
In response to the latest legal drama surrounding Lady Armstrong, the NY Daily News is seconding claims that Taylor’s days at Bravo are numbered, mentioning the recent litigation against her as one of the major reasons Bravo is seeking to end her contract.
“At this point, nobody on the Beverly Hills cast is safe,” a source describes, adding that Taylor and Kim Richards are the top picks to get pink slipped. And it seems Bravo has reached the end of their ropes which scheming, lying frauds trying to infiltrate the Housewives (ahem… Marlo Hampton). NYDN recently got their hands on a 51-page questionnaire the network has been passing out to potential new RHOBH co-tarts.
Among the information Bravo wants to know: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor?” and “Have you ever had a restraining order issued against you?” Oh, they also want to know if said person plans to ruin the network’s reputation anymore than they plan to ruin said person, asking if candidates would do “anything that would cause the program producers and/or the cable network and affiliates any embarrassment or monetary loss?”
“She would made a great addition to the cast,” an insider claims. “She is now single and free and doesn’t ever have to worry about earning another dollar in her life, so she can focus on what makes the show so much fun: herself.” I fail to see how she has any relationship to these ladies, given that she doesn’t even live in Beverly Hills, but apparently the network is interested in what she could bring to the table.
Also seen as a potential new addition, Lisa Gastineau, who previously stared on E!’s short-lived reality show Gastineau Girls alongside her daughter Brittny Gastineau, a close friend of Kim Kardashian‘s.
“Lisa is the opposite of Vanessa,” the insider said. “She is the example of how not to get divorces. She has a wonderful life but works very hard to pay her bills and would love to find love again.” Lisa was previously married to NFL player Mark Gastineau and has been linked to such winners as Sylvester Stallone and John Gotti. Once again, I fail to see how she has any relationship to the current ladies. A photo of Lisa is below!
Moving right along to other possible Bravo fraudsters, days after Brandi Glanville kissed and told during a WWHL appearance that she had a fling with A-List actor Gerard Butler, the actor is denying any such affiliation! When TMZ caught up with Gerard and asked him what he had to say about the reality star rating his lovemaking skills as an 11 out of 10, Gerald simply responded: “Who’s Brandi Glanville?”
After taking a ton of heat on the Twitter and being accused of making up her Gerard fling, Brandi is firing back telling RumorFix she was totally telling the truth about her hook up!
Claiming Gerard admitted to pretending he didn’t know who she is, Brandi explains, “He called me last night and told me he said it. He is upset because he is a private person. I don’t lie so I don’t really care.” The always classy Brandi followed up by Tweeting, “I don’t lie. He can suck it.” I think he may have already…
[Photos Credit: WENN]
IS TAYLOR A LIABILITY TO THE NETWORK? DO YOU THINK SHE WILL BE FORCED TO PAY UP TO MMRGLOBAL? THOUGHTS ON POSSIBLE NEWBIES VANESSA AND LISA JOINING THE CAST? DID BRANDI HOOK UP WITH GERARD?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR A PHOTO OF LISA!
Camille is speaking out on her Bravo blog about her confusion related to the incident, why she felt the need to contact her lawyers and admitting she still doesn’t know what to believe when it comes to Taylor and Russell! Camille begins by describing that she was looking forward to attending the party and despite the recent friction with Taylor, she “didn’t have any concerns about seeing everyone, even though obviously things were going on.”
Unfortunately things took a turn for the nasty when she opened her Inbox! “Russell had emailed me about 2:30 am the night of Pandora‘s bachelorette party. I first showed Adrienne [Maloof]the email. She immediately came to my defense and questioned Russell’s right to send me an email of that nature.”
“At the party I was in the backyard with Brandi [Glanville] and my girlfriend Dedra talking to the guests. Until I saw this episode, I didn’t know exactly what the conversation was. It was difficult to watch it go down.”
“Watching the episode and what the girls were saying, it was apparent at that point all of us were so confused,” Camille continues. “I was upset because friends don’t sue friends. Taylor had told all of us her story, so some of the other Housewives were concerned that they would also receive emails like I did.”
“I didn’t want to alienate Taylor and her husband — but at that time, it wasn’t in my control,” Camille explains. “I had called Taylor several times before the email to apologize. However, after I received the email, my only course of action was just to get in touch with my lawyers and follow their advice, which was essentially to stay clear of Taylor and Russell.”
“It was such an unfortunate situation all around. You can tell it was a confusing time for all of us, We’re a group of friends that all want to support each other. Then, all of a sudden, you see divisions in the group, which are disappointing. Like any close knit group, we all want to help each other in the most difficult of real life situations, yet we might not all agree how.”
“I don’t think anybody felt good afterwards. For me, I was still as confused and disappointed as when I had gotten that email. I still wasn’t sure about Taylor’s true situation with all that was happening,” Camille concluded.
Speaking of Taylor, last Friday she attended a court hearing related to the lawsuit against her from MMRGlobal. MMRGlobal is seeking damages against Taylor for her involvement in alleged investor fraud, orchestrated while Russell was a shareholder and board member for the company. Russell was subsequently removed from the board of directors for misappropriating investor monies.
In an attempt to recover some of these assets, MMRGlobal decided to go ahead with their suit against Taylor, despite Russell’s death, because they believe some of those missing investor monies are being held in an off-shore Cook Island Trust started by the Armstrongs in 2002. Reality Tea will be bringing you more details on the case as they unveil. This was a preliminary hearing against Taylor and no decision has been made as to the course of action.
Finally some good (well, better) news related to the RHOBH ladies — apparently Kim Richards is thriving in rehab! Kim’s ex-husband from her first marriage, supermarket heir Monty Brinson spoke to Life & Style and said Kim is “the happiest she’s been in a long time.” A photo of Monty and Kim at their 80’s wedding is below!
Despite their divorce over twenty-years ago, Monty and Kim remained “best friends” and he has been in touch with her during her stay in a rehab facility. Monty is the father of Kim’s eldest daughter, Brooke. “Kim wasn’t happy with her life,” Monty says. “She wanted to seek help so she could get better for herself, her children and her family.”
Monty says Kim’s decision to seek help was triggered by Russell’s suicide, which was a “wake-up call for Kim,” adding that “all the castmates realized just how precious life is.”
Monty believes that Kim is very serious about recovery and is positive that rehab will truly work for Kim this time, as she is taking full responsibility for her actions related to addiction. “She’s ready to start a new life when she gets out.”
No word if Kim’s boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend) Ken Blumenfeld is still in the picture and supporting her through this time. Recent reports have stated Kim moved out of the house they shared prior to entering rehab and they are no longer together.
Best of luck to Kim. We are all hopeful she gets the help she needs and is able to get her life back on track and in a positive direction!
THOUGHTS ON CAMILLE’S BLOG? WAS CAMILLE RIGHT TO GET HER LAWYERS INVOLVED? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TAYLOR’S LAWSUIT: DO YOU BELIEVE SHE AND RUSSELL WERE LIABLE? THOUGHTS ON MONTY’S INTERVIEW?