Real Lawsuit Against a 'Real Housewife'
LAS VEGAS (CN) - One of the "Real Housewives of Orange County" conspired to take money and part of a vodka company from a business partner, the man claims in court.
Robert Williamson III and Vicki's Vodka LLC sued "Real Housewife" Victoria L. Gunvalson et al. in Clark County Court.
Also named as defendants are Cougar Juice Vodka LLC, Sweetwaters Distillers dba Stillwater Spirits, Woo Hoo Productions, David Brooks Ayers and Michael Nicholson.
Williamson claims in the lawsuit that he and Gunvalson began negotiating in May 2012 to start a vodka business, "which would be distributed and sold under the name Vicki's Vodka."
Present at a June meeting when they worked out the business plan were Williamson, Gunvalson, Ayers and Nicholson, according to the complaint. Williamson says minutes were taken of the meeting.
Gunvalson promised to contribute $25,000 to the enterprise, and at a July meeting, Williams says, he agreed to make $300,000 in "funds" and "commitments."
Nicholson apparently had an interest at first, but gave it up "when it was learned that Nicholson had misused and/or could not account for company funds," Williamson says in the complaint. He claims that Gunvalson then, without his knowledge or approval, 16.7 percent of the company to Brooks, out of her 50 percent, leaving the ownership 50 percent in Williamson's hands, 33.3 percent with Gunvalson, and 16.7 percent with Brooks.
Williamson claims he did not know that Brooks had one-sixth of the company until March this year, when Brooks asked him to buy him out for $50,000. Brooks told him he had to come up with the money "for unpaid IRS and child support obligations in order to prevent his imminently going to jail for non-payment," Williamson says in the lawsuit.
He claims that Gunvalson encouraged him to buy out Brooks, so he did so, paying him $50,000 for his share of the company, "which is memorialized in writing in an agreement dated March 6, 2013." That memo is attached to the complaint as Exhibit 2.
Williamson claims this was a ruse, that "it was learned later that Brooks and Vicki had used this purchase as a way to obtain additional money from RW III in bad faith without the intent to honor the intent of the transaction, which was that RW III would then own 66.7 percent of the LLC."
The complaint continues: "Later Vicki demanded that the ownership be returned to 50/50 even though she had acknowledged and signed Exhibit 2 and upon information and belief, she had received part of the money from Brooks."
Williamson claims Gunvalson and Brooks never had "the good faith intent to move forward with the company and make it successful."
Then it got nasty, Williamson says. He claims that in June this year, Brooks defamed him to the organizer of a charitable poker tournament, claiming that Williamson had embezzled money from the charity. Then, according to the complaint, Brooks "and others" extorted him, by threatening to tell Williamson's wife that he was having an affair - which he was not - unless he paid off his alleged paramour. Williamson says he did pay her, and that Brooks kept "a large portion" of the payoffs "for his own benefit."
Nicholson, Williamson claims, falsely represented that he and Cougar Juice were licensed distillers and distributors, and would make and distribute Vicki's Vodka.
In July this year, Williamson claims Gunvalson "approached" him and "indicated that she wanted to settle certain pending litigation with RW III and move forward with VV."
He claims they worked out a settlement agreement, under which he dismissed her without prejudice from "certain pending litigation," which is not described in this complaint.
But "almost immediately," he says, Gunvalson breached the settlement agreement.
"In reality, Vicki had no intention of abiding by the terms of the settlement agreement by and had merely used the entire exercise as a means to solve certain problems, including her dismissal from the federal litigation," Williamson says in the complaint.
He claims that Gunvalson sent him two letters claiming she did not owe anything from the settlement agreement, threatening to dissolve Vicki's Vodka, and that the company had new owners.
"Not only did the new letter repudiate the settlement agreement, but also took the position that the three equal owners of VV were now, Cougar Juice Vodka LLC.; Woo Hoo Productions Inc. and Robert Williamson," the complaint states.
Williamson claims that "it is undisputed that Vicki knew the true ownership of VV and has intentionally misstated and represented the RW III is not the majority owner of VV; she has shown her true intent to not honor the settlement agreement and to harm the business of VV and specifically to damage RW III and for him to lose his investment in VV."
Williamson seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, bad faith, fraud, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, civil conspiracy, infliction of emotional distress, and slander (against Brooks).
He is represented by H. Stan Johnson, with Cohen-Johnson in Las Vegas.