Billionaire Under Scrutiny as Children Sue for Child Support

Christie Bren, 22, and David Bren, 18, are suing their billionaire father, Donald Bren, seeking $400,000 a month in child support dating back to their births. Bren supported the children over the years pursuant to an out-of-court agreement he made with the children's mother. However, the children claim the payments were well below what a family court would have awarded them, especially given their father's immense wealth.

Donald Bren and the children's mother, Jennifer McKay Gold, disagree as to the nature of their relationship and Bren's intentions regarding the children. Bren claims that the two shared a loveless, infrequent relationship. He stated he was shocked by her pregnancies as she had assured him that she was using contraception. Gold, however, claims the two were in love and Bren was aware that she was not taking any precautions to prevent pregnancy.

While Gold contends that the couple was in frequent contact and enjoyed vacations and socializing with other couples together, Bren claims he only saw her infrequently.

Gold acknowledged at trial that Bren had paid approximately $3 million in support over a 14-year period. However, she stated that, given Bren's wealth, the children were entitled to much more.

Bren's wealth is a major issue at trial. Gold recalled Bren telling her he spends between $3 million and $5 million a month on personal expenses. She detailed Bren's lavish lifestyle, which includes multiple homes, boats, servants and a fleet of jets. However, Bren attempted to downplay his assets, testifying that many were owned by his businesses and not him personally.

Bren was ranked 16th on Forbes Magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans and has an estimated net worth of $12 billion.

Source: Los Angeles Times "Donald Bren's intensely private life becomes public as child-support trial begins" 8/20/10

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