[UPDATED with Wife's (?) Defense:] Lawrence and Kristina Dodge, (Former?) OC Power Couple, Open Up About Financial Woes

UPDATE, NOV. 29, 1:15 P.M.: See the remarks in the Comments section from someone claiming to be Kristina Dodge, who goes into greater detail about the latest controversy swirling around her and husband Lawrence Dodge.

lawrence-and-kristina-dodge.jpg
Artful dodgers?
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 26, 12:16 P.M.: Kansas City journalist Matt Campbell includes some interesting, oh-how-the-mighty-have-fallen tidbits in his recent piece on (former?) Monarch Beach power couple Lawrence and Kristina Dodge, whose names are slapped onto Chapman University's film school in Orange.

It's the Dodges' names on another building in Kansas City that has drawn to scrutiny of newshounds there, as the couple reneged on $4 million of a $5 million pledge to build the $7 million Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Painting Building within the Kansas City Art Institute complex.

See also:
Kansas City Art Institute Sues $5 Million Donor For Breaking Financial Pledge
Lawrence Dodge, Prominent OC Philanthropist, Owes $2.5 mil for Lying, Violating Laws: Feds
Mira Sorvino, Smart as She is Talented, to Receive Anaheim International Film Fest Honor

Yours truly documented the serious regulatory hits that led to the couple's financial downfall, which began with dirty dealings involving a Kansas City bank Larry Dodge founded (see link above), while my colleague R. Scott Moxley previously detailed the Art Institute suit filed in Orange County Superior Court against the Dodges (see the other link above).

As Campbell reports in his long Kansas City Star piece, the Art Institute won its case, but it's unclear whether it will ever see the money it is owed. Meanwhile, the reporter gives the Dodges free reign to defend themselves. Among the choice tidbits:

  • Once multimillionaires who besides Chapman poured millions into the Orange County Performing Arts Center, St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano and the Republican Party and Republican candidates, the Dodges claim they are now so broke they are struggling to pay for daycare for their 2-year-old triplets and that the Art Institute judgment will likely push them into bankruptcy.
  • "This is an organization that is ruthless, completely ruthless and heartless," a "sobbing" Kristina Dodge reportedly tells Campbell. Larry Dodge, 73, says he was served the suit "without an explanation" at his daughter's 11th birthday party, and that ever since, Art Institute officials have "been absolutely horse's behinds" as he's tried to restructure the gift.
  • The couple initially tried to fight the case without an attorney because they claimed they could not afford one. That proved to be a tactical mistake as they made many judicial errors along the way and eventually were ordered to pay $4 million. They have since retained a pro bono attorney.
  • Campbell explains in the piece the Art Institute is leaving the couple's name on the building because "we still expect them to live up to the contract," prompting Kristina Dodge to remark, "I don't care about that. I never did. I wish they'd take it off. We don't want to be associated with them anymore."
  • The $5 million Art Institute pledge came around the same time (2004-05) the couple gave $20 million to private Chapman University, where you'll now find the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Kristina Dodge, who is 50 and remains a university trustee, and Chapman President James Doti co-host the public television program Dialogue with Doti & Dodge.
  • The Center for Investigative Reporting ranked the Dodges No. 9 on a list of top "California rainmakers" for having given more than $6.8 million to the California Republican Party and various candidates between 2001 and 2008. Before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger left Sacramento, he reappointed Kristina Dodge to the Orange County Fair Board of Directors.
  • The government seizure of Larry Dodge's American Sterling Insurance "just sent our lives into a tailspin," according to Kristina Dodge, who thinks the regulatory action was unnecessary and motivated by a desire to "shut down little banks."
  • The couple claims it ponied up $22 million of their own money to save the bank, while also borrowing from an insurance company using their oceanfront mansion as collateral. Larry Dodge, who has forever been banned from banking as past of his government settlement, was informed by his former company that their home will be auctioned off on the Orange County courthouse steps next month.
  • The Dodges say they've been selling stuff on eBay to get by.

They are due back in court Dec. 13 for a debtor hearing.

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7 comments
SalesMaverick
SalesMaverick

Bernie Madoff transferred money, jewelry, art and possessions to his children, but eventually the truth comes out, the money trail is followed and everyone that was dishonest gets arrested or sued or kills themselves. The triplets are not his only prodigy.

Upset
Upset

Btw my email is Happymelody5454@gmail.com  I hope to hear from you . 

Upset
Upset

Wow Larry and Kristina . I know you are going through a rough time but how could you let my mom clean your house and work for you and one day you guys disappeared with no explanation and did not even pay her the months that she cleaned your house . I think that is very low of you. Do you know how much my mom has to work and you didn't even think about her. You guys know perfectly well all the things she has to go through . If you guys ever feel like paying my mom her money then please contact me . Thank you . 

givemeabreak
givemeabreak

This guy commits FRAUD, the governments seizes his bank as a penalty, and they want our sympathy?  Forget it.  This woman is lucky her husband is not in prison.  He's a crook and a criminal.  They need to honor their debts.  they left that school totally hanging.

kristinadodge1
kristinadodge1

My name is Kristina Dodge (I’m the woman written about in the article) and I’d like to clear the air on a few things. Like always, I’ll be honest, forthright and truthful.People have asked me how I feel about the articles coming out through various outlets. The short truth is: I feel so-so. I’m glad that the story is getting some attention. At the same time, I feel like the article leaves out certain pieces that I wish had been covered.Here are a few points I’d like to clarify.

1. We signed a pledge. That is a fact. But we also didn’t try to back out of that pledge. We told KCAI that we needed to restructure it. Until the lawsuit, the endless motions and the slick way KCAI lawyers have manhandled us, we had every intention of fulfilling our obligation. This tumult has been caused by the hyper-aggressive stance that KCAI took from the get-go. That’s just not how you treat a family who gave you a million dollars. The lack of compassion is mind-numbing.

2. We don’t care if our name is on the building. We don’t need that sort of attention and didn’t ever ask for it. KCAI is using the fact that they put our name on the wall as a piece of showmanship. We invite them to take our name off the wall, melt down the scrap metal and sell it.

3. We did not back out of the donation because we got cold feet or wanted to buy a house in the Caymans. The banking crisis was a cataclysmic event. Hundreds of banks requested bailouts from the federal government—an unprecedented move. But we didn’t. My husband, Larry, still believes in the strength of the loans he made as the CEO of American Sterling—he would happily take the bank back. Still, the idea that KCAI could be so callous in the midst of a global economic meltdown is patently absurd. It’s odd to me that an institute dedicated to the arts (which aim to offer people a more nuanced understanding of the world in which we live) seems primarily focused on limiting this discussion to being either black or white. There are shades of grey. The fact that KCAI wants to ignore the complexity of the situation is sad.

4.KCAI has been aggressive in ways that don’t befit a charitable organization. In the coming days, I will be putting video of my KCAI legal-deposition online. The KCAI lawyers were ferocious and rude. I was asked if I “knew what the word job meant,” and if I “understand English.” The lawyer scoffed when he heard that my triplets have diapers. He demanded to know why some of that diaper money didn’t go to paying off KCAI. Seriously.

5.KCAI lawyers told us that they wouldn’t file for a default judgment. Then they did. Our appeal will look at the legality of this maneuver. Either way, it certainly isn’t ethical.There is no hidden money. We aren’t secretly still rich. There isn’t a nickel under our floorboards (trust me, I checked). We have a house but the house has a lien against it that is bigger than the estimated sale price. My husband invested everything in his businesses. All our assets are tied to American Sterling. I hate to lay my life bare, but the fact is, we are currently on food stamps. We don’t have health coverage (aside from my husband’s Medicaid).

6.My husband and I don’t consider this a political issue. It is a human issue. KCAI is acting in a way that does not respect the human dignity of a family who, to-date, has given them a million dollars.

On a final point, I have been touched by the support many of the commenters have had for my family and I. We are in the midst of a trying time and have drawn strength from a wide range of places. The kindness shown by readers, their ability to share our outrage and see our point of view has buoyed my spirits.

If you agree with us on this matter, please take two minutes to email the office of the KCAI president (president@kcai.edu) and tell her that: “though KCAI is acting within legal boundaries, their behavior is mean-spirited and lacks the sort of compassion we would hope they would help foster in their students.”

Thanks so much!

Kristina Dodge

RonaldMexico
RonaldMexico

Wait 73 with 2 year old triplets? Do they have any concept of what they should and shouldn't be doing? THe level of self importance and grandeur these two have is staggering, I shudder to think what they are planning for graves....

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