Chicago cosmetics mogul Marilyn Miglin has filed a lawsuit against a man she said defrauded her by persuading her to invest in a startup company that failed and bankrupted her.
James Joseph “Ted” Mellon and others convinced her to invest in a Las Vegas company marketing a cosmetic device to treat spider veins, costing her $2.5 million, Miglin’s lawsuit claims.
Miglin is seeking that amount plus punitive damages in the suit filed Friday, Aug. 31st in Cook County Circuit Court.
Miglin alleges in the suit that Mellon misrepresented himself, claiming he was a friend of Miglin’s late husband, Lee Miglin, and that he was a member of the wealthy Pittsburgh Mellon family.
Mellon pleaded guilty in May 2002 to a count of mail fraud associated with the venture and was sentenced to three years probation.
Miglin and Mellon first met at a Colorado ski resort in 1999. In a visit to Chicago the following year, Mellon convinced Miglin to invest in a company that was marketing a device to treat spider veins, which are similar to varicose veins.
“This introduction came at a time when I was terribly vulnerable, and I thought this would help me focus on helping women feel better about themselves rather than thinking about my own problems,” Miglin said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune earlier this year.
Mellon promised to match Miglin’s investment but never did, she argued in the suit. Mellon later received $1 million from the venture, according to the suit, which Miglin claims is her money.
Miglin filed for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection in March following a $16.8 million civil judgment against her related to the failed company.
Dan Davis, Miglin’s spokesman, did not immediately comment on the suit, when contacted by The Associated Press on Saturday, but said he was attempting to reach Miglin and her attorneys. The Associated Press was unable to find a published phone number for Mellon in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Miglin’s cosmetics products, including the popular fragance Pheromone, are sold on television, and she owns a boutique on exclusive Oak Street in Chicago.
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