An L.A. jury on Thursday ruled that Irvine Co. billionaire Donald Bren does not have to pay additional child support for his adult children.
Lawyers for the children — Christie Bren, 22, and David Bren, 18 — had been seeking retroactive child support of $400,000 a month each. They had contended that out-of-court payments Bren made to their mother when they were youngsters were well below what would have been awarded in a family court.
But Bren's attorneys had pointed out that he made four separate agreements with former girlfriend Jennifer McKay Gold, 55, and stuck to each, providing generously for the children.
[Updated at 1 p.m.: As the verdict was read in downtown L.A., Christie Bren, 22, interlocked arms with her mother, and stared blankly as the jury decided against her. Her brother, David Bren, flushed red.
“This is not over,” Gold said. “My children are doing the right thing, which is to stand up for themselves.”
Their attorney said they plan on appealing the decision. A family companion shielded the family from photos as they made a beeline out of the courthouse.
Bren is still expected to continue paying for the children’s education until the age of 25. The real estate magnate, who had been present for much of the trial, was not there Thursday afternoon for the 9-3 verdict. His personal attorney Jon Freund welcomed the decision with a fist pump.
“Mr. Bren is pleased that the jury listened carefully to both sides and found for him,” Freund said. “He wishes the very best for the adult children."]
In court last week, Bren, 78, had described his relationship with Gold as a loveless, infrequent romance that was never meant to lead to marriage or children. He said he was shocked when he learned Gold had become pregnant the first time and was even more stunned the second time around.
"I felt betrayed in that she promised me that she was protected," he said on the stand. "And obviously she wasn't."
Gold, who also testified, told another story. She said Bren knew she was not using contraception, and she described in detail Bren's preference not to use it either.
Bren has an estimated net worth of $12 billion and is 16th in Forbes magazine's ranking of the 400 richest Americans. He rarely grants interviews or gives public speeches.
-- Robert Faturechi