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WEST PALM BEACH from www.courthousenews.com – – The former alleged madam to the stars Michelle Braun sued her ex-husband, claiming he defrauded her and their children after she financed his businesses and paid him “an annual nanny salary” of $250,000.
Braun sued ex-husband David Fioravanti and his business partner Jing-Rerng Chiang, in Palm Beach County Court, for herself and her two minor daughters.
Braun, of Boca Raton, ran Nici’s Girls, a Southern California escort service that supplied porn actresses and models to movie stars, athletes and businessmen.
The business made an estimated $8.5 million catering to high-profile clients, which may have included Charlie Sheen, Mickey Rourke and Jose Canseco, according to the New York Daily News.
Braun pleaded guilty to money laundering and transporting a person for prostitution in 2009, and was sentenced to 6 months of house arrest followed by 3 years’ probation, according to the Florida Sun Sentinel.
In January of this year, Braun reached a deal with state prosecutors to avoid prison time after being convicted in a scam that bilked investors of more than $200,000.
Braun had been vice president of a Florida company that sold nonexistent stock to investors, according to the Sun Sentinel, which cited court records.
She pleaded no contest to running an unlawful boiler room operation, using telemarketers to make high-pressure sales calls. She was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest and restitution, the newspaper reported.
In her complaint, Braun claims that her ex-husband, whom she supported throughout the marriage, squandered assets that belonged to their daughters, and let his business partner take control of companies she and Fioravanti had founded together.
“Fioravanti and Braun were married on Jan. 22, 2000,” the complaint states. “Braun had a successful and highly profitable business before she and Fioravanti were married. Braun supported Fioravanti before and throughout the marriage, as Braun paid all bills. While married, Braun purchased and/or built five homes around the United States, exceeding $18,000,000 in property value.
“Fioravanti often could not hold a job, and spent the majority of the time taking care of their two daughters and playing golf while Braun financed the entire family from her solely owned enterprise and paid Fioravanti an annual ‘nanny’ salary of $250,000 per year.”
Braun claims that in 2003 Fioravanti persuaded her to buy the South Florida territory for the Johnny Rockets restaurant franchise, to open restaurants from Daytona Beach to South Florida. Braun paid more than $1 million in cash for territory exclusivity and franchise fees, she says in the complaint.
After signing the franchise contract with Johnny Rockets, and agreeing to open a certain number of restaurants in Florida, Braun and Fioravanti became equal partners in the venture, though Braun paid for everything, according to the complaint.
Braun says she founded three companies with Fioravanti, and financed restaurants in Daytona Beach and Palm Beach Gardens.
When Braun and Fioravanti divorced in May 2006, Fioravanti signed a marital settlement agreement agreeing that Braun’s 50 percent ownership in the restaurants would be transferred to her daughters, according to the complaint.
But Braun claims Fioravanti mismanaged the restaurants, and sold the girls’ shares to his bookkeeper-turned-partner Chiang, without her consent or knowledge.
She claims that Fioravanti and Chiang diverted money from the companies to other businesses, bankrupted one of them, closed one, and lost the territory exclusivity.
Fioravanti let Chiang take control of the companies and never paid Braun and her daughters for their shares, according to the complaint.
Braun says Fioravanti ignored her requests for tax returns and other corporate statements, and refused to meet with her counsel.
She seeks and injunction and damages for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, civil conspiracy and conversion.
She is represented by Aaron Resnick of Miami.