Real Estate

Beanie Babies founder’s ex alleges abuse, sues for half of $400M Cali estate

It’s the house that Beanie Babies built.

Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner’s longtime ex-partner Kathryn Zimmie, 85, is asking for half of his 18,967-square-foot Montecito mega-mansion worth an estimated $400 million, according to a complaint filed last week.

“This lawsuit is a money grab filled with lies,” Warner’s lawyer, Gregory Scandaglia, told The Post via a press representative. Zimmie’s lawyers declined to comment on her behalf, adding, “Our client looks forward to her day in court.”

The pair shared the 6.58-acre Montecito estate off Butterfly Beach from 2010 until they split in October 2020 over allegations of emotional and physical abuse, according to the complaint.

“In the wake of Ms. Zimmie’s decision to end her relationship with Mr. Warner, she has filed a sensationalized lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars of his earnings and assets,” Scandaglia told The Post.

The home included a bedroom built and designed for Zimmie’s granddaughter and an art studio made exclusively for Zimmie, according to the complaint.
Billionaire Ty warner, creator of the Beanie Baby toys, and hotel owner, at the san ysidro ranch, one of his properties in Montecito, circa 2005.
Warner is pictured at his Santa Barbara resort called “San Ysidro Ranch” in this picture taken circa 2005.
Corbis via Getty Images

The 77-year-old engineer of the ’90s plush craze bought two adjoining lots in an LLC in his name for upwards of $3.5 million in 1999 and 2004.

A smaller 5,311-square-foot structure — yes, that’s the size of most mansions — was already on the property and still stands today, with five bedrooms, three bathrooms and three fireplaces.

But he built the massive mega-mansion in 2008 on the adjoining lot with an untold budget likely costing millions more. It has 3 bedrooms, 6.5 bedrooms and 11 fireplaces, according to county property records.

The home included a bedroom built and designed for Zimmie’s granddaughter and an art studio made exclusively for Zimmie, who is an artist and designer, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit estimates the compound’s worth at $400 million, although the 6.58-acre plot is assessed at a combined $157.311 million. Neither party responded to a request for information about the discrepancy, although property values often exceed the number at which they are assessed.

Zimmie claims she helped Warner through financial difficulties in the 70's and 80's by lending her car and providing over $100,000 in support.
Zimmie claims she helped Warner through financial difficulties in the ’70s and ’80s by lending her car and providing over $100,000 in support.
Getty Images
Warner stopped making Beanie Babies in 1999, but the Ty company still sells other plush toys.
Warner stopped making Beanie Babies in 1999, but the Ty company still sells other plush toys.
John Alex Maguire/REX USA
Warner is pictured leaving the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois in 2013 after entering a guilty plea for tax evasion.
Warner is pictured leaving the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois in 2013 after entering a guilty plea for tax evasion.
Tribune News Service via Getty I/ Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Zimmie’s complaint also asks for an unspecified amount of money (an eight-figure amount, according to Warner’s complaint), seeks to prevent Warner from using Zimmie’s paintings, drawings and intellectual property and requests the return of all of her artwork, according to the complaint.

“Mr. Warner had a personal and professional relationship with Ms. Zimmie. He trusted her, entered into consulting agreements with her, and paid her handsomely under the terms of those agreements for design services she provided to Mr. Warner’s businesses,” Scandaglia told The Post.

Warner, whose net worth is about $4.4 billion as of September 7, according to Forbes, continues to pay Zimmie a $16,666 monthly consulting fee, according to a counter-suit he preemptively filed in Illinois, which is his primary residence.

Their personal and professional relationship began in 1977. Over the next decade, she allegedly helped him through financial difficulties, lending her car and providing over $100,000 in support, which she claims enabled him to found his famed plush toy line in 1993.

“The lawsuit is premised on and filled with falsehoods. For example, Ms. Zimmie played no role in the founding or financing of Ty Inc. Her claims have no legal basis and are entirely without merit. Mr. Warner denies her allegations and will defend against them vigorously in court,” Scandaglia told The Post.

The pair were never legally married, but for the past two decades, they lived together, wore wedding bands and referred to each other as husband and wife, according to the complaint. California generally does not recognize common-law marriages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Warner, who stomached a $53 million fine in 2014 for evading $5 million in taxes, also owns a Santa Barbara resort, a Santa Barbara golf course, a Santa Barbara casino and a Montecito country club. The LLC which holds his residential property is the largest residential real estate taxpayer in the county, according to Santa Barbara tax reports.

In addition to his California holdings, the 831st wealthiest man in the world (as of September 7) owns an embattled Four Seasons hotel in New York, the Four Season Biltmore and Las Ventanas al Paraiso resort in Mexico, according to the complaint.

“This lawsuit is a money grab filled with lies," Warner's lawyer, Gregory Scandaglia, told The Post via a press representative. Zimmie's lawyers declined to comment on her behalf, adding "Our client looks forward to her day in court."
“This lawsuit is a money grab filled with lies,” Warner’s lawyer, Gregory Scandaglia, told The Post via a press representative. Zimmie’s lawyers declined to comment on her behalf, adding, “Our client looks forward to her day in court.”
The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

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