Patricia Kluge was famously awarded the largest divorce settlement in history (a reported $1.6 million a week) but she seems to have figured out a way to spend it – and then some, according to an article in Luxist published January 21, 2011.
The ultimate dissipation story, 12 years after being described as being flush with cash, sees Kluge allegedly in default of nearly $23 million on her gilded mansion in Virginia, part of her divorce swag, "one of the most important residences created in the United States since the Golden Age", once listed with a $100 million price tag in October 2009. On Feb. 16, 2011 the 23,538-square-foot home will be auctioned on the courthouse steps.
Her antiques and jewelry have already been auctioned through Sotheby's. Her winery was foreclosed on and its inventory also sold off at auction. Several lots in the Vineyard Estates subdivision she devised for her property were also auctioned.
The root cause is an overly ambitious plan to make it in the wine business meets bad economy. According to a competitor cited in Luxist, " [Kluge Estates] was trying to make a fast dime when they should have made a slow nickel."
The story is one that shows wealth is not an immunization against major mistakes that can cause dissipation or erosion of assets and lifestyle, whether it's due to bad business decisions, putting all their eggs in one basket (Madoff victims who staked substantial portions of their life savings) or other factors.