Robert Herjavec, star of Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, has been trying to settle into matrimonial monotony with his latest wife, but his pesky ex just won’t go away.
After 24 years of marriage to Diane Plese, which produced a son and two daughters, the Croatian-Canadian elflord last year traded up to his Dancing With The Stars partner, Kym Johnson.
Diane had been with Robert for more than two decades, through bad times–when IBM canned his ass–and good–when Herjavec hustled computer parts and built a company that he sold for $30-million to AT&T.
For years, Robert handled family dough through the Robert Herjavec Family Trust. And there was lots of it. Unlike piker Kevin O’Leary, who only plays a rich guy on TV, the Herjavecs had loadsofdough thanks to The Herjavec Group’s eye-popping 643% growth rate from 2007–2012. Sales leapt from $400K in 2003 to over $125 million in 2012.
While Herjavec made his TV name as a backer of wacky biz ideas dreamed up by shameless reality show contestants, his personal portfolio was a lovely collection of blue chips: banks, oil and gas companies, shares of Bell, and other stuff your grandmother would love to have in her safety deposit box.
With shwingy new wife slinking around the various Herjavec mansions, life should be grand for Robert. It’s a long way from his poverty-stricken childhood in Toronto, where he lived in a small shoebox in the middle of the road and was sliced in two with a bread knife every morning by a father who was on the lam for shit-talking Tito back in Yugoslavia.
You’d think his ex might be a good sport and leave the newlyweds to enjoy Robert’s fabulous lifestyle, hanging about with clapped-out rockers and roaring around on Ducati motorcycles. So why is she buzz killing Robert’s big moment in the North America Ferrari Challenge Circuit season (where he competes as #007)?
Diane pocketed an estimated $75-million from Robert in their original divorce settlement, but she’s decided to set the legal hounds on poor Bob, demanding to know how he spent money from that family trust. He was sole trustee of the $147-million nest egg from 1996 to 2016.
And things are getting ugly. Legalese like “assets misappropriated by the Trustee” and “breach of fiduciary duty,” are being tossed about as the former Mrs. H. has questions about a $2.7-million house in Florida and $1.1-million on boats “for the primary or sole benefit of the Trustee.”
As well, the ex wants to know about chump change expenditures like a $7,500 fridge, a $31,000 piano, a $16,500 payment to Robert’s RRSP and $44,000 charged on an American Express card, supposedly for fun for the whole family. (There’s no question about the $40,000 spent on Diane, back in better days, at the Blue Nile Diamond Company.)
There’s some alleged skulduggery with transfers to the couple’s joint bank account, and money lent to The Herjavec Group in its embryonic years.
And there’s an allegation that Robert used 1.25-million for CipherTrust inventory. “The Trustee misappropriated the approximately $1.25- million from the RHFT for the benefit of THG (The Herjavec Group) and the Trustee (Robert), and, as such, these funds are legally payable only to RHFT, including any benefit that THG and/or the Trustee obtained.”
Daughter Caprice, for reasons unexplained by the legalists, doesn’t benefit from the family trust. The rest of the first family object to the trust paying off her $85K debt to the Canada Revenue Agency and giving her $50K as a BRAK Systems dividend back in the day.
There’s a trail of money spent to keep up the Herjavec’s legendary 13-bathroom pile at 16 High Point Road in the Bridle Path. The 33,650-sq. ft. joint, which has been a crash pad for the likes of John Travolta and Bono over the years, was listed last year for $18.8-million.
The first family want the court to order a full accounting of the trust, and to boot out Robert and replace him as trustee.
That’s gratitude for ya!