Nathanael Jones/James Breeden/PacificCoastNews.com
As far as (alleged) celebrity crimes of the century go, Brooke Burke isn't exactly making like O.J.
The Dancing With the Stars alum, along with the prettiest of hubbies David Charvet, are facing a civil suit for allegedly receiving more than $70,000 worth of state-of-the-art appliances for their Malibu home.
And, oh yeah, they were all stolen.
Here's the story as both parties see it. Burke and Charvet bought the appliances from chichi L.A. design store Euroconcepts. The products were purchased from an employee who stole the goods.
Now here's where the stories differ. The store claims the couple, along with some other customers, were aware of the employee's sketchy ways from the start, buying the items with checks and cash at a discount to allow the worker to pocket the money.
The couple, naturally, claim that they never knew of the illegal activities, and that many of the items allegedly purchased by them were never actually delivered to their home. Burke, in particular, whose deposition and testimony have already leaked online, said that checks written in her name to store employees were not even signed by her and that it was her husband who conducted all business with the store and the accused sticky-fingered employee, Zalfa "Zee" Halaby.
"The lawsuit filed by Euroconcepts against Brooke Burke and David Charvet is absolutely ridiculous and frivolous," the couple's attorney Marty Singer said, adding that everything purchased has "been fully paid for," and that, furthermore, "most of the invoices refer to items that were never delivered to Mr. Charvet or Ms. Burke."
He also addressed the first question on most sane people's minds: why is the store going after customers, and not the alleged corrupt employee?
"Euroconcepts problem is not the 30 customers who paid for the merchandise that was actually delivered to them and paid for by those customers, including David Charvet, but Euroconcepts had an employee who allegedly stole money from them who has been arrested by the Beverly Hills Police Department and faces criminal liability."
Singer also noted that one of the store's owners, Daniel Elihu was removed while Burke gave her deposition as "he threatened to release the videotape of the deposition to the media as a way to harass Ms. Burke into paying money to him."
How's that for customer service?
"The reckless conduct of spewing lies to the media and releasing Ms. Burke's deposition will not cause either Brooke Burke or David Charvet to pay one penny to Euroconcepts because they allegedly hired a corrupt employee."
That was the couple's attorney. The store's attorney, for his part, seems to buy Burke's story—but not so much Charvet's, claiming that he knew from the start what he was getting into.
"I believe absolutely that David Charvet knew," store attorney Sanford Passman told E! News. "Do I know if Burke knew if the merchandise was stolen? I don't know...I think she did know, or knew enough not to ask."
"I asked her questions, 'Why'd you write a $10,000 check to Zalfa Halaby?' 'I don't know.' 'Why'd you write off a $7,000 check to Zalfa Halaby?' 'I don't know.' Well, if you go to Armani and you buy a dress or a suit or whatever, do you make the check out to the store? Or do you make it out to the salesperson? I mean, it's ridiculous."
As is, Passman thinks, the couple's public denials.
"I don't know what their publicist is saying...their publicist should try to practice law and take cases like I've been doing, look at the evidence I've got."
And by the way—if you're wondering what sort of appliances $70,000 buys you: an outdoor stainless steel gas barbeque, fridge, freezer, microwave and six-burner range are among the items in question.
Incidentally, this is some long-simmering legal battle. The appliances were purchased by the couple back in 2007, and the lawsuit, which claims unjust enrichment, fraud and civil conspiracy, was filed in August of last year. A status conference is set for Nov. 3.