Recently released court documents relating to the high-profile Washington lobbyist couple Heather and Topy Podesta reveal a divorce battle between the two over an extensive art collection and the Podesta “brand.”
Art is Smaller of Two Divorce Battles
According to the divorce filing the couple is fighting over ownership of the art in question and whether or not it was legal for Tony Podesta to try to donate or distribute the art over the last few years. His argument also lays forth that he owned a collection of “museum-quality art” when he entered into the marriage and that he was already known to give contributions and support to contemporary art. Heather Podesta’s counterclaim states that she has “reason to believe” that Tony Podesta is in the process of cosigning artwork to auction houses and is also arranging for sales of artwork without her input.
Divorce Battle Over Brand – He Said
Even more contentious is the couple’s battle over their brand.
Tony Podesta’s filing argues he had already built his wealth prior to (and separately from) marrying Heather Podesta. As evidence of this he has cited various media outlets detailing his rise in Washington. Court documents add that his success is attributable to “his personal goodwill and unique individual traits.” The divorce papers go on to argue that Heather Podesta’s wealth and career is completely due to the couple’s marriage, noting that before the marriage Heather was making $55,000 a year, and that as a result of taking his name her career “has risen meteorically” since. The filing states, “Ms. Podesta has used Mr. Podesta’s name and reputation to advance her own business and interests.”
Divorce Battle Over Brand – She Said
Heather Podesta’s filings paint a different picture – that of cooperation and jointly using their relationship to build businesses. Her counterclaim states, “As a married couple who both lobbies, they strategically cultivated their public image and worked to build the ‘Heather and Tony Podesta’ brand for the success of their shared enterprise.”
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