Friends come in the most unlikely of places sometimes. Whether it’s commiserating in the line at the DMV, cheering at a ballgame, or striking it up with a new coworker, human beings, by and large, are pretty darn good at forming relationships.
Sometimes, the people in these relationships are so radically different, that their existing friends and family seem to think it odd that they even like each other. This is a story about the rewards of an unusual friendship and the struggle to prove it’s lucrative legitimacy…
New Jersey Strip
If you walked into Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal Casino in 2014, you’d see several things. You’d see a haze of smoke above a glittering, clanging, sea of slot machines. You’d see a who’s who of the east coast’s elderly retirees, gambling their fixed incomes for a chance at riches. And if you walked into Score strip club, you’d see Veronica.
Veronica was a bodacious and beautiful bottle blonde with a body to match that alliterative description. She was the highlight of the club, the type of young woman who would draw your eye even amidst the other scantily-clad performers. On one July night in 2014, she drew the attention of a very wealthy stranger…
Former HBO executive, Micky Liu, had come in Scores for…roughly the same thing most gentlemen came into the strip club for…entertainment. What he found in Veronica, was more than simply eye candy, but a friend. Some might even consider it an everlasting friendship.
Amazingly, their relationship, such as it was, outlasted that night at the strip club. They became longtime correspondents: the 50-year-old executive and the 34-year-old stripper. Less than a year later, however, after losing touch for a few weeks, Veronica got some rather shocking news…
Micky Liu was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. He was only 50 years old. As an obese man with heart disease and diabetes, Liu’s tragic passing was not exactly unexpected, but it was no less impactful for his family and his friends. Veronica too was upset that she hadn’t gotten back to him in time to even say goodbye.
Luckily for Veronica though, Mr. Liu hadn’t forgotten his friend at the end. In even the brief time they had known one another, the space of a year essentially, Liu had taken quite a shine to the friendly dancer. It resulted in him naming the bodacious Ms. Beckham to be the main beneficiary of his retirement accounts and a life-insurance policy…
Those two accounts, the life-insurance and retirement, were worth a combined $223,000…that’s a lot of singles. Needless to say, a six-figure inheritance from someone only just more than a stranger, was the tip of a lifetime for any exotic dancer. It was the type of money that would change her life for the better.
A Stranger Inherits
Liu’s family, on the other hand, was a bit blindsided by the news. Not only had the family patriarch been forging a relationship with a former Atlantic City stripper, he’d also left her a veritable fortune. As far as they were concerned, Veronica Beckham was a stranger, an interloper…
Indeed not all of Mr. Liu’s relatives were happy with his leaving his inheritance to a former exotic dancer. Some of them even had some wild theories about him having been coerced by a true professional. Micky’s sister, May Liu, suggested that Ms. Beckham was manipulating her very sensitive brother.
May Liu decided that she was going to do something about it all and challenged the inheritance in a Manhattan court. Now, as an outsider in this situation, it’s not for me to judge a situation like this without knowing all the facts. That being said, it’s pretty darn clear that the deceased had wishes and the courts should adhere to them. Shouldn’t they?
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
For whatever reason, Ms. Beckham had inherited an absurd amount of money and with it, a host of problems that she never could have predicted. May Liu was out for blood. She wanted to squeeze her dry of all the money she only just inherited, and if that weren’t bad enough, she was slandering her too.
Standing in the Manhattan Surrogate’s Courtroom, May Lui claimed that Veronica Beckham “preyed upon Micky Liu’s vulnerability by exerting influence over him in the form of moral coercion.” Veronica couldn’t believe it, she would never have done any of that. If anything, she felt guilty that she wasn’t a better friend…
Despite the fact that Liu had financially helped Veronica on more than one occasion in their year of knowing one another, the two still spoke to each other fairy often. By the time the moment of his untimely death came along though, it seemed their friendship had waned a bit. They were from two different worlds, after all.
A month or so before his death, it looked like the two fast friends were drifting apart. “I miss you,” he wrote her in an email. “Why is it taking you so long to get your phone replaced? Money? Need some? I’m not used to not being able to contact you.” It sounded obsessive, and it was worrying evidence to say the least…
According to Ms. Beckham, however, this miscommunication was just a blip in what was their everlasting friendship. She added that the friendship was strictly platonic, and that no sexual intercourse ever happened nor even existed between the pair over the course of the time they knew each other.
Despite the questionable nature of their relationship and May’s persistent attempts to block Veronica from inheriting her brother’s inheritance, the courts had no choice but to rule in Ms. Beckham’s favor. She had won the right to the bequest, but with one very peculiar caveat: a caveat that was born of what some would call a similar situation…
You see, Justice Rita Mella, the presiding judge, said that the bequest was ironclad, except for one tiny thing. Apparently, any prior beneficiaries, in this case Mickey Liu’s former girlfriend, could sue for the funds. Not just one of them either, indeed any of his former long term girlfriends could have sued for the money.
In another lucky break, none of Liu’s exes came forward to sue for the money and Veronica, now out of the stripping business, had big plans for it. She has since moved and used the money to start a new career as a fashion designer and stylist to the stars. As for May Liu and the rest of the family…
May Liu’s lawyer, Stephen Holihan, has told the press that the family is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Despite losing the case, they are reviewing the decision and deciding if it’s worth it to appeal. If they do, they might have to face a much more informed Veronica Beckham.
Beckham has vehemently denied that she was the gold digger they said she was. “None of the stuff about me enticing him into naming me as a beneficiary is true. I was very hurt by the lurid and untrue allegations,” she explained. If they keep up the case, it’s possible she might sue for slander, and the fight will only continue.