Once Worth Billions, 'Catwoman' Is Bankrupt

'I often turn to friends and family in order to pay my ongoing expenses'
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2018 12:20 PM CDT

Jocelyn Wildenstein—better known as "Catwoman," the "Lion Woman of New York," and the "Bride of Wildenstein" for her surgically created cat-like countenance—has filed for bankruptcy. At one time Wildenstein spent at least $1 million a month on a lifestyle that included Gulfstream jets, safaris, and pet tigers, extensively chronicled in a Vanity Fair profile. Although the 77-year-old Manhattan socialite has nothing in her bank account, she has plenty of assets, notes Fox News. They include three connected apartments on the 51st floor of Trump World Tower worth $11.75 million (but she owes $4.6 million on the complex, which is in foreclosure and owes $25,000 in property taxes); a 2006 Bentley worth $35,000 (but she owes $38,000 on it); and $100,000 in belongings (but they're in a storage facility and she owes $700,000 to the storage company).

Wildenstein also owes $273,000 to various law firms, $175,000 to her contractor, and $165,000 to the owner of a Beverly Hills rental property. The debt is somewhat remarkable because in 1999 Wildenstein received an estimated $2.5 billion in her divorce from art dealer Alec Wildenstein, now deceased. But all is not lost, as she is reporting $16.4 million in assets and $6.4 million in debt. She also gets $900 a month in Social Security. And she believes she can recover financially if she gets the $4.5 million due from her divorce. But for now, she says, "I am not employed and my only income is Social Security … I often turn to friends and family in order to pay my ongoing expenses." (More bankruptcy stories.)

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