Ellis Law News: Billionaire’s Hit-and-Run Crash Leaves Single Mom With $4K Bill
Daily News owner and aging billionaire Mort Zuckerman was having a bit too much fun in East Hampton, New York on August 11 when he rammed his Lexus into single mom and store manager Charlene F. Peele’s parked Ford sedan, all but destroying the vehicle. Zuckerman, while claiming to have left his business card at the scene, shortly left the crash site—a violation of state law. Worse, according the New York Post’s Jeane Macintosh, Zuck’s insurance company is refusing to pay for the total cost of the damange, sticking Peele with $4,000 to pay on a car she can’t drive. The East Hampton Star describes the crash:
“Driving his car south on Main Street on a clear, sunny afternoon, Mr. Zuckerman, 76, suddenly steered right, his Lexus striking Ms. Peele’s parked 2009 Ford Fusion, according to the accident report. The impact pushed Ms. Peele’s car, which was parked opposite the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, several feet forward.”
Peele ended up sending her Ford to the junkyard, leaving her without a way to drive. On Monday — four days after the Star reported Peele’s ordeal, and nearly a month after the accident — she told the New York Post that Zuckerman might not even be aware that his insurance company is stiffing her.
“I had no idea who he was, and it’s really not important. I just want this mess straightened out so I can get my car replaced and get on with my life,” said Peele, who is in the process of being transferred to Miami and leaving for Florida in three weeks. “I called Mr. Zuckerman’s office and spoke to his assistant, and said,
“‘I just don’t want any problems’ and was told ‘Don’t worry, it’ll be fine,’” Peele said.
Given the Post’s long-standing rivalry with his own New York tabloid, however, Zuckerman is likely more aware of his insurance’s stinginess than he was on Sunday. And he could certainly afford to make amends: assuming his net worth of $2.4 billion remains accurate, he could buy Peele more than 140,000 new Ford sedans.