Richard Malouf has had an exciting year or so, what with being investigated by the state, the feds and WFAA for what is alleged to be a massive amount of Medicaid fraud. Malouf and wife Leanne's rather lavish personal lifestyle has also come under scrutiny: the mansion, the jets, the fancy cars, the amusement park they appear to be building in the backyard.
Now Malouf is suing Belo, WFAA, real-estate blogger Candy Evans and Luke and Owen Wilson's mother, who is their neighbor, for libel, slander and invasion of privacy for writing about, and taking pictures of, the construction over at the Malouf's place. The Observer also gets a mention in there, as one of the outlets who utilized Evans' "unlawfully obtained pictures and information to taint Dr. Malouf's character."
The Maloufs filed the lawsuit and a request for a temporary restraining order yesterday. The incredibly entertaining, floridly-written complaint alleges that after weeks of "stalking" their home on Strait Lane, Evans slipped onto their property and snapped photos of the equipment and construction in the yard. This section of the lawsuit is titled "Candy's Obsession," which Evans really might want to think about using in case she branches out into a line of perfumes or perhaps some Harlequin romance novel knockoffs.
The day after taking the photos, Evans published them on her blog, under the headline: "Water Park Slides Have Arrived at the Malouf Manse & World Now Knows We Are Serious About Medicaid Fraud in Texas." These words, the complaint alleges, were designed to leave readers "with the false impression that that Dr. Malouf was a thief, fraudster and environmentally irresponsible." It also says that the Maloufs filed a criminal trespass complaint with the Dallas Police Department against Evans.
It's not the first time Evans has "brazenly" trespassed onto the Malouf's property, they say, adding that she crashed their daughter's birthday party two years ago and "interrogated" the girl, as well as "habitually" driving past the house. One of her "reconnaissance missions" was conducted with the help of Laura Wilson, Malouf neighbor and mother of actors, who the Maloufs say allowed Evans to crawl atop her roof to take photos of the goings-on next door. It also alleges that Evans approached the Maloufs former house manager, David Kinney, with a "contemptible proposition" to plant a hidden camera in the lady Malouf's closet.
Meanwhile, the Maloufs complain that WFAA reporter Byron Harris has published more than 40 articles "disseminating images and erroneous information" about them.
A little background, if you've not been playing along at home: for years, the Maloufs owned All Smiles Dental Centers, a 51-location chain that collected $10.2 million in Medicaid reimbursements in 2010. In a lawsuit filed in June, the Texas attorney general made it clear he thinks some of that might not be legit: ""Defendants submitted claims for services which they did not provide, and misrepresented or concealed the true nature of the services which they provided," as part of the complaint puts it. This is after Malouf was forced to pay $1.2 million to the feds and the state to settle similar claims .
The Malouf's complaints center on the follow-ups Harris wrote about their residence. It also denies WFAA's reports that Richard filed for bankruptcy: "Dr. Malouf has never personally filed for bankruptcy or been found guilty of fraud." Allegations that he is "financially stripped" are simply not true, it adds.
They also complain that WFAA used its news helicopter to take photos of their backyard, and says the station's report that their new pool will use 6.5 million gallons of water is "pure conjecture." Harris and WFAA's "tireless harassment" of the couple even extended to a courtroom, which the complaint says Harris "stormed" on October 12 of this year to videotape some unspecified civil proceedings. The complaint refers to those proceedings as "private" and pertaining to their son.
The Maloufs are asking for both a temporary and permanent restraining order against the defendants, as well as unspecified damages. Their full and highly readable complaint is on page two.