SERENA Williams’ stepmother nearly lost the tennis star’s crumbling childhood home after years of spending thousands of dollars and racking up over $600,000 in debt.
“King Richard” Williams and his estranged wife, Lakeisha Juanita, have been locked in a legal battle over Venus and Serena’s $1.1 million childhood home in Florida since their messy divorce in 2017.
The four-bedroom property in Palm Beach Gardens has been in the family name for 27 years, since he bought the apartment with Serena’s mother, Oracene, for $355,000 in 1995 and kept it after their 2002 divorce.
But the location was at the center of a mad legal battle instigated by Richard’s estranged wife, Lakeisha, who is 43 years his junior.
The legendary tennis coach lost the 10-acre home after Lakeisha allegedly forged his signature on the property’s title deed to take out a $255,000 mortgage from “hard lender” David Simon.
The property has since fallen into disrepair as Lakeisha stopped making payments after allegedly freely spending over $600,000, Palm Beach County property records show.
In court documents, Simon’s attorneys accused her of blowing up a failed trucking business and spending every last penny on “fast food and frivolities.”
Simon has been trying to get his money back in court since 2017, which now totals around $623,000 including interest, and wants the house to be auctioned to pay off his debt.
Pictures of the home submitted as exhibits in court showed the grounds and main house are in decay, cars appear to have been abandoned on the property, there is internal damage from the leaking roof, the bathrooms are in a dirty state and the Air conditioners are falling apart.
While real estate sites value the place at more than $1.4 million, the actual figure is almost half that due to its derelict condition.
Lakeisha, 37, had tried to delay foreclosure on the property by filing for bankruptcy three times, but two of those attempts were scrapped and now the third is hanging in the balance.
The 37-year-old argues in her court filings that she doesn’t have to sell the house and can stick to an $8,000 monthly repayment schedule, which she hasn’t done so far.
Some of their debts have been passed on to collection agencies such as Firstsource Advantage, LVNV Funding and Forest Recovery Services.
It also owes companies that appear to have had stakes in its doomed trucking business, such as auto finance firms Embassy Loans and Tidewater Finance.
A demented Richard claimed in court that his younger wife transferred the deed of their home without his permission and took out a $152,000 mortgage from Simon in February 2017 after she imitated his writing.
A few months later, she borrowed another $123,000 and only ever paid back about $25,000.
In Simon’s testimony, he revealed that Lakeisha approached him about the loan after seeing a “For Sale” sign on his $79,000 Volvo trailer.
Simon would only sell the truck to Lakeisha if he had property as collateral in William’s name, so Lakeisha transferred the deeds to her name, allegedly forging her husband’s signature.
But the truck was then repossessed by Simon in June 2018 after it was split in half in Long Island City, 1,200 miles from her home, causing $30,000 in damage.
Recently, Simon told the court that Lekeisha has resumed business and is making money again, but it will never be enough to cover the debt.
A court document says, “No matter how much money her trucking business makes each month, she spends her entire income each month without paying a dollar to the secured creditor [i.e Simon].”
New court documents show that as of July 21, 2022, Lakeisha owed Simon $586,109, which includes $255,018 of principal borrowed, $182,017 in interest at 18 percent and $103,824 in attorneys’ fees.
But that number has since risen as Simon’s legal team, DGIM Law, is seeking an additional $37,340 for her fees to date, which Lakeisha denies.
This brings a total of $623,449 owed to Lakeisha.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6974778/serena-williams-king-richard-crumbling-childhood-home/ As Serena Williams’ stepmother battles to save Star’s crumbling childhood home, the true extent of her debt has been revealed