By Amber Goodhand,
Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita and her husband Christopher were named in a nearly $8 million lawsuit against their clothing company, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.
Chris and his brother Joseph Laurita founded Signature Apparel together in 2005, and according to court documents, drained the company and improperly used funds and assets to support their luxurious lifestyle — to the tune of $7,804,227.
“The Laurita brothers soon drained the Company of all of 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 that was filed on November 2, 2010, reads.
“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’s business venture was quite successful, banking more than $250 million between 2005 and 2009, according to the documents.
But in November of 2009 the company filed bankruptcy, prompting the debtor to come forward with the complaint and here are some examples of how they claim monies were misused:
* Nearly $2 million in credit card payments for the Laurity 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 whatsoever.
“Jacqueline and Anthony Laurita each knew of the Lauria Director Defendant’s wrongful conduct, and each substantially assisted the Laurita Director Defendants in breaching their fiduciary duties by, among other conduct, accepting funds they each knew belonged to Signature and for which they each knew they had performed no services and/or provided no value,” the claim continued.
“Funds that should have been used to grow Signature’s business and to pay Signature’s vendors and creditors, instead were diverted to the Laurita Family Defendants.”
On March 14, 2011 Jacqueline and her husband Chris filed an amended answer to the complaint, wherein Jacqueline states she “lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations of the First Amended Complaint.”
Jacqueline’s husband denied nearly all of the 155 allegations made in the claim and states that the complaint should be dismissed “because of a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action and a failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”
The case is still pending, so stay with RadarOnline.com for developments.