Pattaya Daily News

27 September 2010 :: 15:09:33 pm 40997

Celebrities Who Start a Business Without a Business Head

What makes some celebrities decide to go into business while others are happy spending what they make being just a celebrity?
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Those who decide they can’t sit around party night and day or just be happy with a family turn their interests or hobbies into successful businesses while others turn to the fashion or music industry. Some have become very successful and branched out further, while others have failed miserably, sometimes to the extent of bankruptcy. Successful acting, singing or sporting skills don’t necessarily mean successful business skills.

Former editor of Marvel Comics Stan Lee who helped revitalize the comic book with Captain America along with other characters crashed along with Stan Lee Media during the dot com stock boom. The internet based company that was founded two years later in 1998 filed for bankruptcy protection after going through $20 million in cash with returns of only $1million revenue. Although Lee’s company was spending more than it was recouping, it attracted a lot of talented people away from major studios such as Disney. Lee’s company has been involved in several lawsuits by investors since 2007.

World series champion Lenny Dykstra has successfully driven all his businesses into the ground and filed for bankruptcy. He was ordered to pay his entire $5,700 a month pension to his former wife and is now claiming he is homeless with $37 million in debts after running various businesses into the ground.  In July 2010, Dykstra filed for bankruptcy, but lost control of his case when a bankruptcy judge ruled that he was no longer able to administer his own finances.  Dykstra claimed he was the victim of predatory lending after purchasing hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s mansion in Thousand Oak, California for $17.5 million with a $12 million loan in 2008 while at the height of the housing crisis. He had intended to sell it on for $25 million.

 

While stuck in a traffic jam, Kim Bassinger saw a sign that read ‘Braselton: If you lived here you would be home by now.’ She and her partner bought the small town for $20 million, telling reporters that “Finally, here are some people who will know who is boss.” Her intension was to creating a tourist attraction that featured a movie studio and film festival, but the dream was a complete failure. Five years down the line in 1993 she sold it for a mere $1 million and later declared bankruptcy. The town is now owned by a developer.

The 70’s Three’s Company star Suzanne Somers was successful with the ‘Thigh Master’, but her business knowledge didn’t translate well when she transferred to the Suzanne’s Kitchen make it yourself meal preparation franchise that provided ingredients and recipes from her cookbook failed after just three months.  Her business partner former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown claimed she changed the concept to use only organic ingredients which made the project impractical and uneconomical. She now sells a tooth whitening system for $50.

 

There is a lot of coming and going with celebrities as their popularity comes and goes just as it does in the fashion industry. Heidi Montag’s clothing line ‘Heidiwood’ for Anchor Blue last no more than a year. The material was flimsy and paper thin and did not become a hit with shoppers. Although the clothes were at reasonable prices, they were considered poorly made. The reality TV star who is has indulged in cosmetic surgery for almost every part of her body, is now planning another clothing line.

Heidi Fleiss, who was convicted in 1995 and served 20 months in a California prison for running a highly successful brothel, also ran a stud farm in Nevada where men were sold to women for $250 an hour, but convicted felons are banned from working in the sex trade in Nevada. She also ran a sex toy shop, a Laundromat and pet grooming shop, all of which have failed. Her latest business is a pet spa in Las Vegas.

Paris Hilton received a portion of a $2.3 million inheritance from her grandfather in return for behaving herself, but she failed. Her grandfathers’ other heirs received a percentage leaving her with a total of $5 million and the rest going to charity. Hilton is being sued for $35 million for wearing the wrong hair in a promotion which the company says lost them $6.6 million because she failed to attend a launch party as she was in prison. She is also being sued for breach of contract where she allegedly refused interviews to promote the movie National Lampoon’s Pledge This! For which she could be liable for $160,000.

Hilton has been sued for not marketing products after being paid such as promoting films. She has been charged for possession of cocaine in her purse to which she says she thought was chewing gum.

Jim Bakker started a business ‘Praise the Lord ministry’ in 1974 with 2,000 employees at its peak and $129 million a year in revenue. In 1987 his empire crumbled after he admitted to having a sexual encounter with the church secretary Jessica Hahn and paying her hush money. Bakker successfully raised $158 million for Heritage USA a large theme park for Christians in Fort Mill S.C. before everything fell apart.

He asked for donations of $1,000 from each of his 25,000 supporters which would entitle them to becoming lifetime partners and three nights free lodging every year for the rest of their lives at the park.  A total of 66,000 people signed up with Bakker proposing another hotel selling twice as many partnerships than was available. Within two months of Bakker’s resignation, the ministry filed for bankruptcy with $130 million in debts. Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison and $500,000 fine for 24 counts of mail and wire fraud. He served only five years of his sentence after an appeal. Bakker and his second wife now run a nonprofit making church in Missouri.

Death Row Records dominated the music charts in the early 90’s with rappers such as Dr.Dre, and Snoop Dogg, but things went drastically downhill after Marion Knight was imprisoned in September 96 for parole violations. He received a nine year sentence but was released in 2001. In 2003 he was jailed again for striking a parking lot attendant. While incarcerated, his money problems escalated after a woman claimed ownership stake of 50% in Death Row Records. In 2006 Death Row Records filed for bankruptcy with Knight testifying that he had not checked his financial records for at least ten years.

Knight had a negligence complaint he filed against Kanye West after he was shot in the leg at a party thrown by West which he claims has prevented him from working. Jim McMahon, a former Chicago Bears quarterback opened a restaurant in 1987 which closed after three years. He then proceeded to open his McMahon’s Steakhouse which closed a year later in 2003.

Sarah Goldman

Photo : Internet   Category : Stories

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