The "gimme" generation finally has a spokesmodel.
She is 18-year-old Liesel Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel chain. She is young, beautiful, and ostensibly, wealthy. She co-stars in movies with Harrison Ford (Air Force One) and played -- prophetically, as it turns out -- the title role in the 1995 Warner Brothers film, A Little Princess, in which her character takes on the British government in a fight over -- what else? -- her father's money.
According to a civil lawsuit filed by the young heiress, life indeed imitates art. In the suit, Pritzker claims that her father, 76-year-old business exec Robert Pritzker, sold off assets belonging to his daughter's trust fund at below-market prices and used the proceeds to benefit other family members. She claims that her father and other relatives are ripping her off to the tune of over a billion dollars, and is seeking all of the alleged losses, as well as an additional $5 billion in punitive damages.
Pritzker didn't earn any of this money. It's "hers" only in the sense that her family gave it to her. We are talking billions of dollars here folks. You can't tell me there isn't enough to go around -- or that there's not enough left in the supposedly ransacked trust for young Liesel to live comfortably on for the rest of her life. An extra $5 billion for punitive damages? Survivors of victims from the World Trade Center attacks don't come close to rating that much cash.
In a statement, Robert Pritzker said the "family's hoping for reconciliation and a fair resolution."
How about some old-fashioned family discipline?
There is an old saying that used to be de rigueur for the uber-wealthy in America. Since I am not among them I can only paraphrase, "There are only two occasions where one's name should appear in the papers: a wedding announcement or an obituary notice."
The saying has been lost on the scions of today. Jet-setters like Paris and Nikki Hilton, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Ivanka Trump embrace the ink of tabloids and the cameras of television. They always seem to crave more publicity, more money and more power.
Now we add Liesel Pritzker (whose screen name is Liesel Matthews) to the list.
According to Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, she and her Chicago lawyer Jefferey E. Stone -- who was unavailable for comment when I called -- have confused the American judicial system with the family dinner table, where matters of the family should be dealt with.
"I think it says we think the courts are equipped to right every wrong and they're not," said the judge. "Some wrongs have to be endured and righted by the bonds of love and family."
I couldn't have said it better myself (which is why I called the judge).
"Punitive damages require that the plaintiff show malice -- not negligence -- but the intent to harm," says Napolitano. "Since he [Pritzker's father] owns the same stock, it's unlikely [because he would be hurting himself]. The whole thing [the trust fund] is a gift and the father obviously wants to manage the wealth in a way that works for everybody -- so the lawsuit sounds frivolous," he said.
Robert Pritzker told The Associated Press, "It is sad when a daughter, who is a beneficiary of great family wealth and tremendous advantage, sues her father and other members of her family."
As much as I agree, I find it sad that Mr. Pritzker used the press to discipline and disparage his daughter. Didn't we just celebrate Thanksgiving? The Pritzkers have much to be thankful for. Shame on them.
Mike Straka is the project manager for Fox News's Internet operations and contributes as a features reporter and producer on Fox Magazine (Sundays 11 p.m. on FNC) and as a writer for Foxnews.com.