Hollywood, CA (CNS) – According to a new court filing, Oprah Winfrey’s mother claims that she shouldn’t have to pay a high-end fashion store the money she owes them because she says the store extended credit to her despite knowing she has trouble managing debt.
Valentina Inc. sued Vernita Lee, Winfrey’s mother, back in July contending that Lee racked up a bill of $155,547.31 in purchases and interest. The suit says that Lee was required to make a minimum monthly payment of $2,000 to the store.
Las week a mediation between the two sides failed, which then caused Lee to file a counterclaim civil suit stating she does not owe the money. Lee then claimed the account was, “unconscionable, and therefore, unenforceable because Valentina knowingly and unfairly took advantage of Lee’s lack of knowledge, ability, and/or capacity when Valentina created the account.”
This is the second time Lee and Valentina have battled it out over her wardrobe bill. In 2002, the court ordered Lee to pay $35,000 upfront and continue to make monthly payments of $5,000 until the past-due bill of $174,285 was paid.
The 2002 case was then dismissed as long as Lee continued to make the payments, which she did. As part of the resolution of the case, the court order also stated that the store was not to extend any further store credit to Lee.
According to the recent civil case, Lee has had a no limit charge account with the store since January of 2004. Lee is also claiming that the store violated the Truth in Lending Act by not properly identifying and disclosing the finance charges and annual percentage rate on the account.
With Lee’s preferred account, the store allowed her private showings, advance notice of sales and special events and delivery service.
Co-owner Tony Chirchirillo said in an earlier interview that it is not unusual for women with full social calendars to run up six-figure clothing bills.