The trial lawyers for convicted British sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell are suing her family for $878,302 in unpaid legal bills.
The Denver-based law firm Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, or HMF, also claim in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell's kin conspired to hide the true wealth of the fallen socialite, who was found guilty in December of recruiting and grooming young women to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Named in the lawsuit with Maxwell, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a Florida prison, are her brother Kevin and her estranged husband, Scott Borgerson, according to the 18-page complaint filed in Denver District Court.
"Ms. Maxwell breached the Fee Agreement by failing to pay for services and advanced costs within 30 days of invoicing," the complaint states. "Ms. Maxwell is therefore liable to HMF for the unpaid balance, plus applicable interest and costs of collection."
There was no immediate response to the lawsuit from Kevin Maxwell or Borgerson, and the law firm did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Maxwell, who had previously hired the law firm to represent her in civil cases brought by Epstein victims, retained Haddon, Morgan and Foreman to defend her after she was arrested in July 2020 and accused of helping Epstein recruit and abuse four underage girls, mostly in the 1990s.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty to the six charges and claimed she was being scapegoated because prosecutors could no longer go after Epstein.
Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell, who was behind bars throughout her trial, told HMF her brother Kevin “would coordinate the financial aspects of her defense, including paying HMF’s attorneys’ fees and also costs advanced by the firm,” the complaint states.
Early in the case, however, HMF became concerned about “Ms. Maxwell’s willingness and ability to meet her financial obligations," the complaint states. And on Aug. 11, 2020, HMF notified Kevin Maxwell that the firm “could no longer represent” his sister.
Two days later, Kevin Maxwell and HMF reached an agreement in which “he would personally guarantee and agree to maintain a $100,000 balance in the firm’s client trust account at all times,” according to the lawsuit.
But by November 2020, “Ms. Maxwell’s retainer had been exhausted,” according to the complaint.
“To keep HMF from withdrawing, Mr. Maxwell made a handful of sporadic payments,” the complaint states. “Despite his promises, however, he never brought Ms. Maxwell’s account current, let alone refreshed the evergreen retainer.”
In August 2021, after Maxwell's criminal trial was set for December, HMF said it wanted a $1 million retainer.
"Mr. Maxwell spent the weeks and days leading up to trial assuring HMF that he was on the verge of obtaining financing on Ms. Maxwell’s properties that would result in more than enough cash to settle the amount owed to HMF and satisfy the retainer," the complaint states.
Ten days after Maxwell's trial got underway, an HMF "shareholder followed up with Mr. Maxwell, asking for an update on the status of the loan and trial retainer."
The complaint says Kevin Maxwell responded by “falsely stating” that the final stages of the drawdown should be “done in the next three or four days,” the complaint states.
Maxwell also told HMF that Borgerson “controlled Ms. Maxwell’s money and was responsible for delaying payments to the firm.”
But by Jan. 3, less than a week after Maxwell had been convicted, the unpaid bill had ballooned to $956,671.
Kevin Maxwell 10 days later paid the law firm $143,500, the complaint states, but nothing more since then.
As of June 27, Maxwell’s unpaid balance was $878,302, not including interest, according to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, HMF contends that Borgerson tried to prevent creditors from getting their hands on Maxwell's money by buying "several high-end properties including two condominiums in Boston" and two estates, one of them in Bradford, Massachusetts.
"Each of these properties were acquired with Ms. Maxwell’s assets, either directly or through a trust, in an effort to shield them from creditors," the complaint states. "Borgerson repeatedly represented to HMF, through Mr. Maxwell, that the complete equity of each of these properties were available to fund Ms. Maxwell’s defense."
But a month after Maxwell was indicted, HMF said in the complaint, Borgerson transferred ownership of one of the Boston condos from a trust to himself and sold it for $2.15 million.
And after Maxwell was convicted, Borgerson "listed the Bradford, Massachusetts, estate for $7,295,000, claiming that Ms. Maxwell had no ownership interest in the property," according to the complaint.