Patricia Cornwell 'blew' fortune on jets and property

Jan 14, 2013

US novelist a 'spendthrift' who spent millions on luxuries, former money managers claim

Getty Images

A SPOTLIGHT has been turned on the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the best-selling American crime novelist Patricia Cornwell and her wife after she launched a $100 million lawsuit against her former money managers.

Cornwell, 56, is suing her "wealth creation consultants" claiming they "fleeced" her out of millions and cost her millions more by suggesting she put cash in "risky investments", says the Daily Mail. The money managers don’t dispute her fortune is severely depleted, but say it’s her own fault because she blew $5 million on private jets in a year and spent $11 million on property.

The hearing in a Boston court has also learned that Cornwell spent $40,000 a month on an apartment in New York’s Trump Towers despite the fact she and her female partner, Harvard University neuroscientist Staci Gruber, live on an estate in Massachusetts.

The New York Daily News says the "wealth creation gurus" Anchin, Block & Anchin are portraying the couple as spendthrifts. "Where did the money go? Ms Cornwell and Dr Gruber spent the money," the firm’s lawyer told a Boston court.

Cornwell amassed her fortune by selling more than 100 million copies of her books featuring the fictional medical examiner Dr Kay Scarpetta. At times she earned "more than $10 million a year" from her work, says the Boston Globe.

She alleges that Anchin's, who began working for her in 2004, charged her more than $3 million in fees over a four-year period and gave her "shady" property investment advice. In 2009, she was "flabbergasted" to learn her net worth "was only eight figures", says the Globe, which was her annual income for the past four years.

Cornwell was so upset by the financial losses she missed a book deadline, something that had never happened previously. Both she and Gruber, whom she married in 2005, are expected to give evidence at the trial which is predicted to last at least five weeks.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Read more: