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Sunday, April 18, 2010

"US Richest" Women sues Singapore Hotel for lost of US$ 330,000 ring!

Source: The Straits Times

A WEALTHY American socialite says a diamond ring worth more than $300,000 (right) went missing while she was staying at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore last year.

Now, multi-millionaire Anne Hendricks Bass, 68, has gone to court to force the hotel to make good her loss.

A longtime arts patron with a passion for dance, she was described by The New York Times last month as one of the richest women in the United States after her 1988 divorce from Texas billionaire Sid Bass.

Ms Bass claims that her Paris-made gold ring, which had a 6.41 carat diamond valued at US$220,000 (S$307,000) on it, went missing on Feb 6 last year, two days after she checked into the Shangri-La.

According to court documents, she said she placed the ring on a table in the bedroom of her two-room suite at about 6.30pm that day, shortly before getting a massage.

She said two hotel employees were with her for about an hour in the room, while another entered at about 9.15pm to deliver a meal she ordered.

Ms Bass claimed she realised the ring was missing only at 10pm, when she was about to check out.

She alerted hotel staff to help her look for it, but the search proved fruitless.

She then made a police report on the advice of hotel staff, and postponed her departure by a day to continue the search, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

After checking out on Feb 7 last year, she offered a US$50,000 reward for any information leading to the recovery of the ring. But that also proved futile.

Now, she wants the hotel to pay her damages.

Ms Bass, who is based in New York, is represented by lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam of Stamford Law Corporation. She is alleging that the hotel failed to provide adequate security to safeguard her personal property against theft.

She says that either the hotel was negligent or its employees might have stolen the ring.

But the hotel, represented by Mr K. Anparasan of KhattarWong, is denying the claims. According to the defence statement which has been filed, it is arguing that the loss was caused, or contributed to, by the woman’s own negligence.

It says she had not shown evidence that the ring was in her possession at all times during her stay at the hotel. Neither has she proven that she even brought the ring with her when she arrived in Singapore last year.

The hotel’s position is that its three employees never entered the bedroom of Ms Bass’ suite.

She had her massage in the living room, not the bedroom, as she had claimed. And the butler who delivered her meal left the food in the dining area of the living room.

The hotel acknowledges that it is liable to pay only up to $500, the maximum provided for under the Innkeepers Act for a loss where there is no theft or neglect.

A High Court pre-trial conference is due later this month.