Mommy (War)Bucks

Can you raise a child on a little over $10,000 a day? Think carefully now before you answer. You know the cost of GameBoys and PlayStations is rising as we speak. Not to mention athletic shoes, school uniforms, lunches, etc.

Well, this woman has filed a paternity suit and claims she will require at least that much to raise her four-year old.

You can stop rolling your eyes now. No, really.

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My God, You Mean There’s A Sequel?

Okay, let’s review. Kirk Kerkorian is an 84-year old gazillionaire. Six months ago, I tricked you into wasting fifteen precious minutes reading about his bizarre child support dispute with Lisa Bonder. I accomplished this by printing the information in a legal newspaper rather than in the National Enquirer or the Weekly World News where it belongs.

This, you may remember, was the column about the octogenarian whose thirty-something ex-tennis pro wife of one month (but girlfriend of ten years) had sued for divorce-pursuant to a pre-nuptial promise to divorce him within a month of the marriage, one of my favorite features of the case-then lived with him for three more years until she heard he was seeing other women.

Then she sued for child support for their four-year-old daughter in the amount of $10,667. 67. Per day.

Three hundred twenty thousand dollars a month to take care of little Kira.

On the off-chance that these facts aren’t burned into your gray matter as indelibly as the brand of the Ponderosa, and in the equally unlikely event that you didn’t spend hours trying to figure out just how you would go about spending $10,667.67 per day on a four-year-old, I will remind you that Mr. Kerkorian contested the amount(1) and every retired judge in America except Mills Lane and William Howard Taft volunteered to handle the case.

Since that time I’ve been deluged with requests to update the story. Alright, maybe “deluged” is too strong a word. Maybe “moistened” better describes the “flood” of phone call that poured in seeking more information about this story.

But I write a full-service column here. When I actually locate a reader, I do my level best to satisfy him. So, . . . Dad, . . . here’s what’s gone on since last we visited this story.

Ms. Bonder claimed in her lawsuit that the elderly Kerkorian was Kira’s natural father, but, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal,(2) “the billionaire’s lawyers said in court that he is sterile.” This is, of course, always a bad break for the plaintiff in a paternity action. It’s kinda like having your starting pitcher gunned down by a sniper in the first inning.

This forced Ms. Bonder to go to Plan B. She “admitted faking a DNA paternity test by using saliva she obtained from Kerkorian’s adult daughter.” Here I must confess to my own inadequacy in reporting this story. I have never sought another person’s saliva. I’ve generally had plenty of my own. So I don’t know just how you go about getting it. Do you just go up to the person and say, “Excuse me, I need some saliva so I can bilk your father out of the gross national product of Ecuador”?

Or do you somehow trick them into spitting: “Look that house is on fire! Let’s run over there and see if we can put it out by spitting on it!” Or, “Happy Birthday! Look, I got you a spittoon; why don’t you try it out!”

The need to secure an unincarcerated person’s saliva never having come up in my own life, a published decision, or any of the 176 episodes of “Law and Order” which have so far been “RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES” and shown on 26 different cable channels at all hours of the day and night, I have no information about how this is accomplished.

But another lawsuit may contain a clue. Turns out, “real estate heir and entertainment producer Steve Bing,” sued Kerkorian(3) last month for stealing his dental floss.

That’s right, dental floss. The headline said, “Producer Sues Mogul for Dental Floss Theft.”

Here’s how the Daily Journal put it: “Movie producer Steve Bing has filed a $5 billion invasion of privacy lawsuit against MGM mogul Kirk Kerkorian. In the suit, Bing claims Kerkorian backed a scheme to steal Bing’s dental floss and other items from his garbage to use in a DNA test to determine whether Bing fathered the daughter of Kerkorian’s former wife.”

Is there someplace where rich people go to have monopoly money issued to them? Are the damages for alleged dental floss thefts(4) paid in orange-colored five hundred dollar bills given you by someone on the other side of the kitchen table?

Five billion dollars. This is roughly what I will earn in my entire lifetime if I delay my retirement until I’m 25,053 years old.

And the gravamen of this lawsuit is that Kerkorian had a private investigator go through Bing’s trash looking for dental floss so he could have it tested for DNA to show that Bing was the father of Lisa Bonder’s child and HE should be paying the $320,000 a month to support her. Frankly, it seems to me that if Bing got the 5 billion he was suing for, he’d be the only person in America who could afford $320,000 a month child support, and should be adjudged the father on that basis alone.

This, we’re told, damaged Mr. Bing in the amount of three moving vans full of large bills. I don’t know Mr. Bing, but if the privacy of his dental floss is worth five billion dollars, I assure you I will be heeding the “no trespassing” signs at his home.

Mr. Bing-apparently no relation to Chandler Bing, but possessed of a similar sense of humor judging from this lawsuit-is a little sensitive about people getting hold of his DNA. This is because actress Elizabeth Hurley just used his DNA to prove he is the father of her child.(5)

Ms. Hurley began seeing Bing, a 37-year-old believed to be worth about 500 million dollars, when her relationship with actor Hugh Grant broke up. This, of course, followed Grant’s well-publicized indiscretions with a Hollywood hooker who was, as I understand it, the second-cousin of Kevin Bacon’s hairdresser.

Bing professed to be “astonished” when Hurley brought legal proceedings to establish his paternity. I have no idea how anybody with a net worth of 500 million dollars can be surprised when they’re sued for paternity by a woman they’ve had sex with who subsequently has a baby.(6) It would seem to me that such a lawsuit follows as night unto day, but Mr. Bing was “astonished” by it.

So imagine how he felt when Kerkorian started fishing around looking for floss.(7) Actually, you don’t have to imagine it. I can tell you. He said in his lawsuit, “A billionaire who believes that he has enough money to take anything he wants from anyone, Kerkorian has pilfered Bing’s genetic identity without his authorization.” He was, in the words of Queen Victoria, “not amused.”

Kerkorian’s lawyer responded that Bing is the child’s father (referring here to the child of Ms. Bender, not Ms. Hurley; this stuff’s more complicated than trigonometry) “and never has paid or offered to pay one dime for [her] support. . . . Now, instead of doing the right thing, Mr. Bing has chosen to unleash a series of outrageously false statements to serve his own interests.”

Wow. Imagine that.

This had the makings of a first-class donnybrook. I thought we might need Don King to promote it. But then Bing and Kerkorian got together and decided money is thicker than blood. The lawsuit was dropped.

According to Bing’s publicist, “Kirk Kerkorian and Steve Bing jointly announced that they have amicably resolved all outstanding differences between them. They stated that the resolution came about after getting to know each other and becoming aware of additional facts that gave rise to the controversy.”

This does not augur well for Ms. Bonder. Two guys worth a coupla billion, who’ve been arguing about who fathered your child, get together and discuss your case and end up walking away arm in arm. And to make matters worse they issue a cryptic press release regarding “additional facts that gave rise to the controversy.” About the only way this could get worse would be if it turned out she’d been dating Steve Garvey.

But almost nothing in life is completely without redeeming social value(8), and this mess is no exception. There’s a practice tip buried in all this “Dreck of the Rich and Famous.” It’s in Bing’s lawsuit against Kerkorian. The Daily Journal says, “According to the suit, Bing-who describes himself as a philanthropist-will donate any winnings from the lawsuit to children’s charities.”

Well, now, that’s how the REAL lawyers do it. They allege that if they win, they’ll give the money to charity.

That’s brilliant.

Why haven’t you thought of that?

“Paragraph 62: Plaintiff, a woman motivated primarily by philanthropy and patriotism, further alleges that while the pain from her sprained elbow has been excruciating beyond the ability of words to express, and while Recalcitrant Bastards Inc., a multinational corporation whose principal place of business is in the same state as Enron, has stonewalled and lied to her at every turn, she will, nonetheless, out of the goodness of her heart, donate 90% of all damages over $100 million to starving children in Africa.”

That oughta improve your winning percentage.

And if it does, maybe you can find a few bucks to kick in for Kira Kerkorian. Poor child’s probably just a step away from the soup kitchen.

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