(CN) — Defense attorneys for erstwhile socialite and convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell are suing her for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of unpaid legal bills.
A lawsuit filed Tuesday by Haddon, Morgan & Foreman says Maxwell has owed the Colorado-based firm $878,302 since June 27, 2022, and that roughly $850,000 of that amount has been due since Jan. 31. It claims her brother Kevin and husband Scott Borgerson, also named as defendants, worked to shield Maxwell’s assets from being used to pay her debt.
Maxwell retained HMF lawyers in 2015 to represent her in lawsuits brought by women accusing her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, as well as other subsequent civil litigation. Jeffrey Pagliuca and Laura Menninger were also hired to defend Maxwell at her criminal trial in late 2021, where she was found guilty of luring vulnerable teenage girls for Epstein to abuse.
She was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June.
Her lawyers say Kevin Maxwell assured them that he would personally guarantee a $100,000 evergreen retainer so they wouldn’t withdraw from her case due to lack of payment. The firm accepted over concerns about Maxwell’s ability to pay.
Kevin Maxwell wired the first $100,000 payment to HMF in August 2020, but by November the funds were exhausted and by Jan. 4, 2021, Maxwell owed the firm roughly $141,000.
According to their complaint, Kevin Maxwell told HMF that he would replenish the account. “As 2021 progressed, Ms. Maxwell fell consistently behind on her obligations to HMF. When HMF raised concerns, Mr. Maxwell routinely assured the firm that he would satisfy the outstanding invoices,” the lawyers say, adding Maxwell made a “handful of sporadic payments” to keep the account current, but it was never enough to fully cover her mounting legal bills.
HMF says it again warned Maxwell that it intended to withdraw, requiring a $1 million retainer to stay on through her trial.
“Mr. Maxwell spent the weeks and days leading up to trial assuring HMF that he was on the verge of obtaining financing on Ms. Maxwell’s properties that would result in more than enough cash to settle the amount owed to HMF and satisfy the retainer,” their complaint states.
That money never came.
Instead, the firm claims, Ghislaine Maxwell’s estranged husband Scott Borgerson formed two limited liability companies and used Maxwell’s money to buy two high-end condos in Boston and other properties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in an attempt to shelter her assets.
Maxwell’s brother Kevin allegedly told the firm that he could fund Ghislaine’s defense with equity from the properties. He blamed any holdup on Borgerson, who reportedly dumped Maxwell while she was in jail and sold some of the homes while claiming Maxwell had no ownership stake.
The firm says that by Jan. 3, 2022, Maxwell’s balance had grown to more than $956,000. But Kevin Maxwell nonetheless asked HMF to handle posttrial briefings, scrounging up $143,500 as a down payment.
“He did so for the purpose of inducing the firm into continuing to work on post-conviction issues, even though he had no present intention of paying past-due fees or those incurred in the future,” the firm claims. “On Jan. 14, 2022, Mr. Maxwell falsely assured the firm that he would bring it current no later than Feb. 28, 2022. In reality, Mr. Maxwell would never again make a payment to HMF toward Ms. Maxwell’s balance — which still exceeded $850,000.”
In the months after Maxwell’s conviction, the firm says her brother continued to string them along, promising he had wired money that never arrived. HMF now believes her brother worked in concert with Borgerson to protect Ghislaine’s assets from creditors.
HMF wants a judgment for 1 1/2 times the value of the transferred assets, or 1 1/2 times the amount necessary to satisfy her outstanding bills, whichever is less.
HMF attorney Christopher Montville, who represents the firm in the case, did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.
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