According to Celebrity Blogger Perezhilton:

As mentioned last month, Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, reportedly owes over $155,000 to a high-end fashion store in Wisconsin.

Because she owes quite a bit of money and hasn’t paid, the store, Valentina, Inc., is suing Oprah’s mama.

Lee was supposed to pay monthly installments of $2,000 to cover the $155,547 in purchases, plus interest, and hasn’t paid since July 1st.

At the time, Lee would enjoy private showings, special delivery services, and perks from the store. She also had her open-ended charge account with them, since January 2004.

But now Lee says she shouldn’t have to pay the bill!

The reason?

Get this.

Lee believes the store officials never should have extended credit to her.

Woah ponies, wait just one darned minute.  That’s not a reason NOT to pay!

So, Lee has now filed a counterclaim.  As of last Friday, she contends that Valentina took advantage of her “lack of knowledge, ability, and-or capacity” when creating her credit account.

Huh???  Say that to Judge Judy and see how far it gets you.  Hey, it only works with Goldman Sachs.

Is she saying she doesn’t know HOW to use a credit account? It is VERY simple.  You borrow, you pay back. Credit companies make this pretty clear.   OMG, sounds to me like a subprime mortgage cryout. 

According to Lee, she resolved a 2002 case with the company over a $175,000 bill.  Although the resolution prohibited Valentina from extending any further credit to her, she still pursued Valentina and continued to shop with the store she had just had a conflict with.

Perhaps they should have tattooed it on her forehead?

Can someone take this woman out for coffee and explain this to her since her daughter is tooo  busy working it for Obama?  PLEASE!

This sounds soooo familiar.  Sort of like how the government made mortgage loan offers to people via Community Reinvestment Act signed into law in 1977.  The banks were expecting repayment, but instead finding people defaulting, and now we are all faced with the ultimate problem of the taxpayer expected to eat the bailout!  Such a familiar scenario during these economic times.


In 2002, Lee was ordered to pay $35,000 upfront and also make monthly payments of $5,000 until her other past-due bill of $174,285 was paid for.

As part of the resolution in 2002, the court order which dismissed the case stated, “Valentina Boutique, Inc., shall not at any time extend further store credit to the Defendant, Vernita Lee.”

Oprah’s mama should know better.  Oprah knows.  Why doesn’t Oprah, Miss Righteous do the right thang?  How embarrassing for mama!  What will she wear to Obama’s Big Fest???????  Don’t tell me that she will not be on the invited guest list.

So the 2002 case was dismissed as long as Lee made the payments, which she did.

Now for her counterclaim, Lee is asking the court to award her damages including twice the amount of any finance charge on the account, plus her attorney fees.  Hm, that sounds just like those folks at ACORN who wanted 20% of the $700 billion on the first bill. (Thank God that got slashed the first time around!)

  • So Lee’s been in this same situation before with the same company?
  • And she knew she shouldn’t get credit from the store if she couldn’t pay, but she took it anyway.
  • And now doesn’t want to pay.

What does Oprah think?  Or doesn’t she?  Are her lawyers helping her mama out?

She has enough $$$$ to pay the bill.  It is pennies for Ms. O, just like the taxpayer who has to pay for those little extras in the bailout bill.

Now, I truly can understand why Ms. O is probably more than tired of having to pay for all of mama’s debts, if she does.?  Banks are still lending, but they aren’t lending to those with bad debt.

Why that store would offer credit a second time when they have a teensy weensy problem getting paid the first time around, is beyond my comprehension?   Well, I do believe that the store is thinking that Ms. O will bail her mama out.  Hmmm, sounds just like the average taxpayer being looted by the government.  Look at the text of the bailout, doesn’t it?

Yes, Ms. O can pay her mama’s bill, but one should NEVER assume that.  Just like the bailout…WallStreet and politicians alike should never assume!!

The taxpayer has had it.  Did I mention that some in Congress wanted to bailout credit cards as well?

Ms. Lee, here is a primer for you since you don’t get that borrow pay thang.  From Everything You Wanted To Know About The Credit Crisis But Were Afraid To Ask by Ben Stein.

This way you leave Oprah to her business with Obama.

Hey look, it’s international as well,

The account is “unconscionable, and therefore, unenforceable because Valentina knowingly and unfairly took advantage of Lee’s lack of knowledge, ability, and capacity when Valentina created the account,” the civil suit said.,23599,24431220-38198,00.html

Ophra and mama

Ophra and mama

Repeat performance for mama.  Seems like mama does this more often than not:

But six years ago, John Kowske had to took Lee to court in Milwaukee, where she lives, after she failed to pay him the $4,304.90 she owed him, according to papers posted on

“Vernita was a co-signer on a loan for her daughter Pat,” a source tells us. “Sadly, Pat died of a drug overdose.”

A judge ordered Lee to pay the debt, according to the papers.

Kowske could not be reached, and Lee’s lawyer, Steven Gistenson, wouldn’t comment on either case. “I’m not going to address [the boutique case] in the media – it’s going to be addressed in the courts,” he told us. “And I wasn’t involved in the previous case.”

A spokeswoman for Harpo Productions would not comment as to whether Winfrey will pay off her mother’s alleged debt.

But chances are good that the talk-show titan retained Gistenson, a prominent in lawyer in Chicago, where she lives, for Vernita. While Oprah seems to have forgiven her mother, Vernita did leave her behind with grandparents after giving birth to her at 18.