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Brad Pitt might have a fighting chance in court over claims that his estranged wife Angelina Jolie offloaded her stake in their 1,000-acre Château Miraval estate behind his back, without giving him the first crack at purchasing her portion of the lavish $164 million French estate, according to one legal expert.
Last Friday, Pitt sued Jolie over the sale, claiming that after the former pair purchased the property back in 2008, they agreed to never sell their respective interests without the other’s consent.
Now, in a complaint obtained by Fox News Digital, the actor says the palatial abode was an investment buy “as a home to share with their children and the vineyard as a family business” and alleges that Jolie rushed to sell without his authorization.
Pitt and Jolie got married at the expansive estate in 2014 in a super-secret ceremony attended only by their six children.
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” star, 58, claims in the civil action for breach of contract against Jolie, 46, that she reneged on that promise by selling her interest to a Luxembourg-based spirits manufacturer controlled by Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler.
“Jolie consummated the purported sale without Pitt’s knowledge, denying Pitt the consent right she owed him and the right of first refusal her business entity owed his,” the papers state. “She sold her interest with the knowledge and intention that Shefler and his affiliates would seek to control the business to which Pitt has devoted himself and to undermine Pitt’s investment in Miraval.”
Pitt claims because of the “purported transaction,” his ex-wife and mother of his children now “seeks to recover unearned windfall profits for herself while inflicting gratuitous harm on Pitt.”
David Glass, a certified family law attorney who is not involved in the matter, explained to Fox News Digital that Pitt’s oral contract theory isn’t as strong as he might believe but maintains that his claim that he and Jolie, through corporate negotiations centered on the sale of her Miraval stake to Pitt, proved that an agreement was in place and will hold greater weight in court.
“The fact that she sought his consent in 2017, and then in 2021 was negotiating directly with him is helpful to Brad’s case,” Glass, who is a partner at Enenstein Law Firm, explained. Glass added that he believes Jolie knew the risks associated with selling off her stake in Miraval and that her argument about Pitt running to air his grievances in the press is a “weak” attempt to curry favor in the court of public opinion.
“Angelina’s attorneys have been focusing on the fact that Brad released his lawsuit to the press before serving her, and/or have been focusing on the fact that Brad never said ‘Don’t sell your share of the winery.’ Both of those things, to me, point to the weakness of Angelina’s position,” said Glass.
“If she had a right to sell her half of the property without Brad’s consent, why wouldn’t her lawyers just say that now? Why do the ‘weak argument’ of complaining about using the press – which, by the way, Angelina’s attorneys have been doing for several years already,” Glass claims.
“The law of community property requires ‘consent’ of the spouse … it does not require the spouse to say, ‘Don’t sell that,’” Glass noted. “Angelina’s attorneys are trying to turn around the law … that ultimately won’t work, but might sway public opinion in the short run.”
The sprawling property was owned by separate limited liability corporations that both parties controlled, according to court papers obtained by Fox News Digital back in September 2021. The filing stated at the time that Miraval was owned by Quimicum – a company Pitt originally held a 60% stake through his company Mondo Bongo while Jolie held 40% through her company Nouvel.
“It is worth mentioning that, for the last four years, Nouvel [Jolie’s company] did not act in the best interest of Quimicum by systematically delaying the approval of the annual accounts and the renewal of the manager,” the previously filed suit stated.
“We understand that behind this systematic obstruction, the real purpose of Nouvel and its shareholder [Jolie] is to sell its stake in Château Miraval SA in a way that would circumvent Mondo Bongo’s right of first refusal (as provided in Quimicum’s articles of approval), taking, as a result, a capital gain raised thanks to Mondo Bongo’s investment and to which Nouvel did not contribute.”
Through “investments” made by Mondo Bongo into Château Miraval, Pitt claims in his filing that he was disproportionately putting money into the renovation of the winery while Jolie was not putting any new money in.
In December, Pitt partnered up with French music producer Damien Quintard in a revitalization effort to reopen Miraval Studios – a storied recording space created by French jazzman Jacques Loussier in 1977 but has gone unutilized on the property since the early 2000s. The studio had housed the likes of Pink Floyd, Wham!, AC/DC and Sting among other artists who cut projects within the walls of Miraval Studios.
“It is the honor of a lifetime not only to be co-founding the rebirth of one of the most iconic recording studios that recorded Pink Floyd, Wham!, AC/DC, Sting, etc., but also to have Brad Pitt as a Partner,” Quintard, 30, captioned a photo post at the time of himself with the “Fight Club” actor donning a white bucket hat, green hooded sweatshirt, lightly-ripped faded blue jeans and white slip-on sneakers.
“Truly touched by Brad’s trust in me and grateful for the support of all my fantastic team and entourage without whom nothing would ever be possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, Glass says that a corporate agreement between Mondo Bondo LLC and Nouvel LLC included provisions that prevented the unilateral sale by either party.
“Brad also points out that it was his investments of money and his ‘sweat equity’ over the past years that made the winery very successful, raising both of the parties’ value in the property,” he said citing the case filing. “Sales, under Pitt’s stewardship, rose from $3 million to over $25 million.”
A section within the filing states that any shareholder who holds less than 75% of the total stock cannot sell their shares without the approval of a full 75% of the shareholders, thus given the fact that Jolie’s shares feel under the threshold, in theory, she wouldn’t have been able to sell her share of Miraval – an argument that Glass sees as a winning one for Pitt.
“In October 2021, Pitt heard through the news that Jolie had sold her interest to a company allegedly owned by a Russian Oligarch,” Glass said. “Pitt never had any advance notice and was not offered his right of first refusal to match the third-party offer to purchase.”
Jolie filed for divorce in August 2016 citing “irreconcilable differences.” She requested primary custody of five of their six children: Pax, 18, Zahara, 17, Shiloh, 15 and twins Vivienne and Knox, 13. The former pair’s son Maddox is now 20.
The divorce was finalized in 2019, but the former pair is still locked in a custody battle.
Attorneys for Pitt and Jolie did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News Digital’s Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.