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Son of late billionaire real estate developer in $6 million war with his ‘mistress’

The son of a controversial Texas-based billionaire is at war with his late father’s alleged mistress over $6.3 million which she claims is rightfully hers.

Gene E. Phillips died in August 2019, at the age of 82.

Born in South Carolina, he relocated to Dallas – buying a 16 acre property next to George W. Bush – and making a $3.5 billion fortune in real estate and energy, the Daily Beast reported.

When he died, he made one of his sons Bradford, the CEO of a life insurance firm, the executor of his estate.

Now a woman who Phillips described in legal documents as ‘one of several long-term mistresses’ of his father’s is seeking $6.3 million which she claims is rightfully hers.

Marsana De Monserat, a jet-setting interior designer and entrepreneur, said that she is owed $2.6 million in refinancing proceeds from one Florida rental property she owned, but had allowed the late Phillips to manage.

De Monserat believes she is also owed $1.7 million from a promissory note she said was given to her.

Marsana De Monserat is seeking $6.3 million from the estate of Gene Phillips, who died in August 2019 aged 82. She says in court documents that they met in the late 1990s and began doing property deals together

Gene E. Phillips died in August 2019, leaving behind a fortune reported by the Daily Beast to be $3.5 billion

Gene E. Phillips died in August 2019, leaving behind a fortune reported by the Daily Beast to be $3.5 billion

In January, Phillips filed a law suit accusing De Monserat of extortion.

On Monday, according to The Daily Beast, the judge in California overseeing the case, Mark Epstein, indicated he would likely dismiss Philipps’ objection.

Bradford Phillips, son of the late Gene Phillips, is fighting De Monserat in court over the $6.3m she claims she is owed

Bradford Phillips, son of the late Gene Phillips, is fighting De Monserat in court over the $6.3m she claims she is owed

De Monserat, in a recent court filing, said Phillip’s complaint against her is an ‘attempt to abuse the legal system, with the hopes of scaring [her] into walking away from her business interests with’ his late father. 

In an amended complaint, he removed the claim that De Monserat was the late billionaire’s mistress: she refers to herself in court documents as a friend.

The socialite said she first met Gene Phillips in the mid-1990s. 

‘We subsequently became close personally [sic] friends and began working together on a series of real estate ventures, beginning with the purchase of an apartment complex in Los Angeles in the late 1990s,’ De Monserat stated.

In 2000 Gene was indicted – along with a series of mobsters, the BBC reported – in New York for racketeering and wire fraud as part of an alleged scheme to pay kickbacks to corrupt pension-fund officials in exchange for investing with one of the companies he controlled. He was acquitted of all charges in February 2002.

By 2001, The Wall Street Journal described him as having ‘long been one of the most controversial figures in publicly traded real estate’ – head of the Southmark Corp, a Dallas real-estate group that collapsed in 1989 in a swirl of lawsuits, and controlling the Transcontinental property empire, despite a 12-year bid to oust him.  

Bradford referenced his father’s unusual past in his original suit, saying: ‘While Mr. Phillips was very successful, he was also a controversial figure.’

He added that he ‘has had to overcome his father’s reputation with the companies’ regulators and others.’

Gene Phillips (pictured) was a 'controversial' figure, his son Bradford admitted in court documents

De Monserat met Phillips in the late 1990s, she said

Gene Phillips (pictured left) was a ‘controversial’ figure, his son Bradford admitted in court documents. De Monserat met him in the late 1990s, she said

De Monserat said that she invested in the real estate, but Gene Phillips ran the day-to-day operations.

‘Gene Phillips maintained complete control over the management and operations of the various properties that I owned and those in which I invested pursuant to Gene Phillip’s advice and direction,’ she said.

She stated that in October 2015, she purchased a large apartment complex in Florida and ‘allowed Gene Phillips to control the management and all dealings in regard to this property, just as I had done with our prior real estate investments.’

She said: ‘After Mr Phillips’ death, in about January 2020, I requested Plaintiff, as the executor of Gene Phillips’ estate, to provide me an accounting of all of the properties that I owned and the investments that I had with his father. 

‘I received little to no information from Plaintiff.’  

She also accused Bradford Phillips and his attorney of trying to ‘demean’ her by referring to her as ‘one of Mr. Phillips’ long-term mistresses, with nothing to offer from a business perspective…’ 

De Monserat's legal team are battling through the California courts to claim the money

De Monserat’s legal team are battling through the California courts to claim the money

Bradford Phillips hit back, the Daily Beast reported, and called De Monserat’s allegations ‘unfounded’.

He expressed concern that ‘investigations by various governmental entities would cause a significant disruption’ to his business.

The lawsuit adds that Phillips ‘was put in fear that criminal allegations would be made against him, his family, and the Estate’. 

He added that this ‘fear caused him significant emotional distress and has caused him damages as a proximate result.’  

The case continues. 


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