New court papers have Wolfgang Puck's wife dissing everyone from Anna Wintour to Shaquille O'Neal and proclaiming herself "the new Bill Gates." It's the inevitable trainwreck ending to a food huckster's partnership with a group of internet speculators.
Puck, the ultimate hustler of high-end food, sought to do business with the ultimate internet land grabber, an outfit trying to lock up top-level domains like ".wine," ".nyc" and ".basketball." A case filed by the latter group in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleging breach of contract, tortious interference and fraud, makes it clear the relationship quickly soured.
Three parties are suing Puck and his wife: Minds and Machines LLC, of California; Level Domain Holdings Ltd. of the Virgin Islands and entrepreneur Fred Krueger. The plaintiffs reached an agreement with Wolfgang Puck to co-develop the ".food" domain, but subsequently had a falling out over whether Puck and his wife were entitled to compensation for other top-level-domains developed by the parties, and whether Puck subsequently breached the agreement by yanking back rights to his name.
It could take months or years to sort out exactly what went wrong here. But it's easy to see how this case will embarrass Wolfgang and, especially, his wife Gelila.
Here's Puck insisting on giving less to charity:
The suit repeatedly depicts Gelila derailing domain name deals by enticing the plaintiffs into alternate negotiations than never panned out. One involved Vogue publisher Condé Nast:
Gelila had two children with Puck, two decades her senior and already a father, before marrying him two summers ago. A Harper's Bazaar profile depicted Gelila stepping into a J. Mendel dress, Jimmy Choo shoes and Swarovski crystal necklace ahead of a dinner party. She told the magazine she found labels "vulgar."
Odd, then, that she was positively eager to jump into the internet labeling business, judging from the court papers. In fact, she thought internet labels would give make her the next Bill Gates and the next Al Gore:
The suit also accused her of chasing off potential clients: