When we wrote last week about Donald Bren's child support lawsuit, the outcome was not yet clear. In fact, many people speculated that the billionaire land developer would settle with his adult children in order to keep his private life out of the public eye.
However, Bren chose to let the case go to court rather than settle because he believed in his chances. As it turns out, he probably saved himself a considerable amount of money by refusing to settle.
A Los Angeles jury decided in favor of Donald Bren on Thursday, August 26.
Christie and David Bren, Donald Bren's adult children, alleged along with their mother, Jennifer McKay Gold, that Mr. Bren owed the children more than $134 million in retroactive child support. They were seeking $400,000 per month for child support between 1988 and 2002.
So how much had they already received? Between 1988 and 1992, Donald Bren paid Ms. Gold $3,500 each month. Between 1992 and 2002, he paid $18,000 each month. Along with educational costs for the children, that amounted to about $10 million total in child support.
Donald Bren's attorney said that is far more than any family court would have awarded. In response to Ms. Gold's assertion that Bren promised to have a relationship with his children, the attorney said that the plaintiffs are "two kids whose father wasn't around... [but] there's not a scrap of paper. There are no witnesses" that Mr. Bren promised to have a relationship with the children.
In the end, the jury agreed with Donald Bren and his attorney. Jennifer McKay Gold and the children have vowed to appeal. Their lawyer alluded to information that was "kept from the jury," saying he would provide new information in his appeal brief.
"Jury: No back child support for billionaire's kids," (Associated Press, August 27, 2010)