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Venus and Serena Williams’ Stepmom Files for Bankruptcy to Save Home the Williams Sisters Grew Up In

The woman that married Venus and Serena Williams’ father after he divorced their mother is hoping to save the couple’s home and their marriage.

Richard Williams’ third wife is attempting to convince the courts she is still intimate with the 80-year-old despite his filing to terminate the marriage in 2017, and to lay out a payment plan to pay back the mortgage on the family’s Florida home.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: (L-R) Venus Williams and Serena Williams attend the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

According to the Daily Mail, Lakeisha Williams filed for bankruptcy in an effort to save the Palm Beach Gardens home purchased by her husband in 1995 for $355,000 after he’d moved his family from Compton, California, to the home to focus on his two soon-to-be-famous daughters’ tennis training. This home is seen in the Oscar-nominated movie “King Richard,” where Will Smith won the Best Actor trophy for his portrayal of the driven dad.

He remained in the home after splitting from the two multiple Grand Slam champions’ mother in 2002.

Williams built two tennis courts on the 10-acre property. The intensive training on the grounds, where the father served as the primary coach, proved to be the foundation in developing both Venus and Serena’s skill sets, propelling them to be two of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.

Lakeisha moved into the home in 2009 after wedding Williams, a man 37 years her senior, and since then the couple lived on the estate with their 9-year-old son, Dylan.

The father of nine suffered a series of strokes and health challenges before filing for divorce from Lakeisha in 2017. 

At 74, he experienced a substantial stroke right before Serena’s 22nd Grand Slam win. The family kept the medical crisis quiet before the competition, later sharing he had suffered some memory loss.

Williams alleged his young wife, a woman two years older than Venus, was forging his signature on various records in a plot to have his name removed from the property records as he suffered from an onset of dementia. The goal, according to Williams, was to have her name as the only one on the paperwork.

Almost five years later in a dramatic twist of events, Lakeisha is asking a judge to stop the couple’s divorce proceedings, claiming their marriage is “not irretrievably broken” which is evidenced by their weekly sex sessions.

Her divorce attorney Sara Lawrence stated in a filing, “The wife believes that the parties have reconciled and have engaged in an active marital life including having regular weekly sexual relations including but not limited to on Jan. 9, 2022, the night before filing this motion.”

She also filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy with the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida to save the home on Feb. 17, months after the house fell into foreclosure in 2021. The Miami mortgage lender David Simon initiated court actions and had hoped to have the place auctioned off on Feb. 18. The move brought the former grocery store owner some time to secure the finances to keep the home. 

Within the application, she reveals personal details about her income and possessions, listing a total asset of $682,923.43. These assets include Lakeisha’s personal property valued at $94,726.43, which includes a 2003 Toyota Camry, a gun collection (an AK47 rifle, a Glock 45 handgun, a .357 handgun, and a shotgun), a 2000 Freightliner tractor unit associated with her S&D Empire LLC trucking company and a $75,000 insurance policy.

The debt she listed includes the following bills: $713.74 owed to Synchrony Bank; $727 owed to Bank of America; $985.11 owed to Capital One National Association; $2,056.55 owed to TideWater Finance Company and $2,436 owed to Embassy Loans Inc.

The wife stated she owes the Palm Beach County Tax Collector $2,697.55 for 2021 property taxes and $7,600 to the IRS.

The largest debt owed is to Simon, the loan keeper, who is owed $472,796.98. This tab includes Williams, despite his name being removed from the deed, as a co-debtor.

This is perhaps why the halt on the divorce is such an important issue for Lakeisha. Her attorney said, “The wife has a need for the husband to pay these fees as he has a superior ability to pay from the regular and steady reimbursement of his expenses by his famous and very rich daughters Serena and Venus Williams.”

“The parties have been together and there has been no real active litigation since August 2019 after which no discovery, no mediation, and no real activity has occurred,” the legal filings continue. “The Respondent/Wife does NOT believe the marriage is irretrievably broken and does NOT want the court to enter a final judgement of dissolution of the marriage.”

Lakeisha is hoping a judge allows her five years to pay $491,562 in a series of installments.

In the documents, she has asked the judge to consider her alleged monthly income of $15,972.93, a figure she totaled from receiving rental property monies, “family support payments,” and Social Security.

The proposed five-year payment plan presented by her legal team is $8,293.36 a month for 15 months, then $8,033.91 for 25 months, and $8,083.42 a month for the rest of the time.

Simon’s legal team said in court filings, “This motion is replete with half-truths and inaccuracies.”

This bankruptcy claim will be a challenge for Lakeisha, who previously declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy last year when the house went into foreclosure. The first attempt failed because the property was deemed uninsurable because it needed a new roof, estimated at $27,000. 

The court now is asking her to submit more supporting documents by April 8 and wants her to prepare to be questioned by her lender under oath on a yet-to-be-determined date.

Simon’s attorneys are already prepared, saying, “This is a hotly contested case. Secured creditor has a judgment in foreclosure exceeding half a million dollars on a residential home that the debtor owns.”

“This is the debtor’s second bankruptcy case,” they said mockingly, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. But do it fast, and don’t provide notice to your adversary!”

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