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Aide sues Brando over home loan

Los Angeles, Feb. 7 (Reuters): A woman who worked as a personal assistant for Marlon Brando for 25 years sued the actor in a Los Angeles court yesterday, claiming he was trying to force her to repay $185,000 that he gave her as a gift to buy a home in London.

Caroline Barrett began working for Brando in 1976 and retired in 2001. He adopted Barrett’s daughter, Petra, in 1981 but it was unclear whether the couple had a personal relationship. The lawsuit states that Brando gave Caroline Barrett the money to buy a house in London after he moved there in 1985 so she could look after his affairs and “Petra could have roots,” according to the lawsuit.

Although Brando told Barrett that he would have to classify the transfer of money as a loan to avoid “dire tax consequences,” he repeatedly assured her that she did not have to pay the money back, the suit said. She also agreed to sign a promissory note and to use her Los Angeles home as collateral to further the appearance of a loan, the suit said.

Barrett sold the London house in 1990 after Brando’s business there concluded, and all three moved back to the US so Petra could attend college, the suit said. In the suit, she claimed that Brando told her he had instructed his attorneys to cancel the promissory note against her home. She retired in 2001 and refused several entreaties to return to work, the suit states.

In September, she received a letter from Brando’s attorneys saying that she was in default of the loan and that he intended to foreclose on her Los Angeles home unless she paid the full amount plus interest, the suit said.

Barrett contends that the letter contained Brando’s first mention that the 1985 transaction was a loan.

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