If you follow fashion or fabulosity at all, you might be familiar with Lauren Santo Domingo, the fabulously wealthy Vogue contributor, stylist, and founder of ModaOperandi.com. Last fall, we wondered aloud whether she was the next Mrs. Astor. She's built like a model, is currently renovating a townhouse on Gramercy Park, and just popped out a healthy baby. You might have thought, at some time or other, that her life is objectively perfect. We wouldn't fight with you on that point. Less famous than Lauren, though, is her husband, Andres Santo Domingo, who is the heir to a Colombian beer fortune. (His father is estimated by Forbes to be worth $6 billion.) And Andres has a bit of a problem.
See, when the rest of us are in a car when it runs over someone's foot, we are the anonymous passengers and the driver is an insane cabbie. But when Andres does it, chances are he'll be driving his own Mercedes-Benz, which is trackable to him through a license plate. And New Yorker Ryan Coutu says in a lawsuit filed yesterday that not only did Andres run over his foot on Third Avenue in late March, but that the high roller whacked Coutu's arm with his rearview mirror. Then, he claims, Andres sped away.
Again, if this was you, the victim would write down the cab's medallion number and probably track down the cabbie or the TLC to seek compensation for medical bills. You'd be left out. But when Coutu found out who Andres was by checking vehicle records, he aimed higher. Claiming nerve damage, he's suing the Colombian heir for $100 million. "It's not exactly Bonfire of the Vanities, where some rich guy would be scared to be on 34th and Third," his lawyer said, according to the News. (The protagonist in the Tom Wolfe novels also performs a hit-and-run, but in the South Bronx, where he flees for fear of his life.) "This is a rich, spoiled guy. He just left [Coutu] there."
The News couldn't reach the Santo Domingos for comment, but presumably Andres will fight this in court. And there's a good chance we're not hearing the whole story yet. (Someone's got to tell us how to get our hands on a $100 million foot, for example.) But next time you're in the backseat of a cab that almost clips some absentminded pedestrian, and you think to yourself, Ugh, I hate my life as an urban plebe, remember this story. It could be worse. You could be a billionaire.