Patricia Kluge: Downfall of a Billionaire Socialite

She overspent on an extravagant winery that tanked and lost it all
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2011 2:26 PM CST
In this June 1, 2010 photo the garden at the Albemarle House, the former home of Patricia and John Kluge, is nestled the rolling countryside of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Charlottesville, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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(Newser) – Patricia Kluge was a wealthy socialite with an exotic past, recipient of gifts from royalty and a rumored $1 billion divorce settlement. Now she’s living in a paltry 6,000 square feet, having auctioned off many of her luxuries before the banks foreclosed on her 960-acre winery and seized her $23 million, 45-room mansion. How did it happen? The Daily Beast profiles Kluge, an Iraqi-born Brit who worked as a belly dancer before marrying a tabloid publisher and becoming a fixture in his soft-porn enterprise, then divorcing him and marrying John Kluge, a media mogul once touted as the richest person in America.

With her second marriage, Kluge went from posing nude to hosting fancy society parties. After nine years, the Kluges divorced, with Patricia reportedly receiving $1 billion and several homes in the split. She eventually married her current husband, former IBM exec William Moses, and started a winery. The Daily Beast blames her dramatic fall partly on the recession—and partly on her over-spending on the winery, which featured million-dollar French wine masters and other extravagances, yet never established a market. “Nobody knows” exactly what happened, says one former neighbor, but “she’s become a laughingstock, and that’s sad.”

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