weather icon Clear

Timeshare mogul’s suit vs. ex-girlfriend cites lavish gifts, racy pics

Updated April 23, 2021 - 2:14 pm

A prominent Democratic donor from Las Vegas claims a Canadian model conned him into using his home and private jet to post scandalous and pornographic images from his home without his consent.

And the donor, Stephen Cloobeck, is demanding that the model, his ex-girlfriend Stefanie Gurzanski, return the gifts he lavished on her. But Gurzanski, who has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, secured a restraining order against the former timeshare mogul after claiming he harassed her, her family and men she dated after their breakup.

Since January, the two have been embroiled in bitter litigation in Los Angeles Superior Court, where a judge on Friday denied Cloobeck’s request to rescind the restraining order. Lawyers are due back in court next month on other legal issues.

Cloobeck, 59, made his fortune through Diamond International Resorts and captured headlines with political and charitable efforts, including a donation to the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force. He sold Diamond Resorts for $2.2 billion in 2016.

Gurzanski, 26, met him through a mutual acquaintance after his 22-year marriage ended last summer.

“He spent nearly every waking moment with her, tried to help her with what she characterized as her career, provided monetary support for her mother and indulged her with expensive jewelry, threw her lavish parties, flew her and her friends on trips in his private jet, and prepaid a twelve-month lease for and furnished a luxury apartment in Beverly Hills,” lawyers for Cloobeck wrote in a lawsuit. “Taking advantage of Cloobeck’s generosity, over the course of their relationship, Gurzanski asked for and Cloobeck purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of designer bags, luxury watches, designer clothing and shoes, caviar, crab legs, and dozens of bottles of premium champagne and tequila.”

The suit lists fraud, trespass, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.

Failed marriage proposal

Gurzanski said that in December, after Cloobeck threw her an extravagant birthday party in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, she rejected a marriage proposal that included a $180,000, 7-carat diamond ring and a necklace.

“He’s an obsessed man who is frustrated that his money will not buy him his way in forcing a young girl to be with him,” Gurzanski’s lawyer, Arthur Barens, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

One of Cloobeck’s attorneys, Robert Allen, said Gurzanski talked about the ring she would have wanted, and Cloobeck bought it so she could “see that he was serious.”

When the two first met, Cloobeck thought Gurzanski was a “high-class fashion model,” the lawyer said. In Cloobeck’s lawsuit, he calls Gurzanski a “con artist” and “cunning fraudster” and claims she posted lascivious pictures from his private suite at The Mansion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and in one photo posed topless wearing a yarmulke from his son’s bar mitzvah.

“To embellish her online and social media image as someone bathed in wealth, Gurzanski exploited the backdrop of Cloobeck’s assets,” the suit alleges.

Cloobeck’s connections

Cloobeck is a longtime friend of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former chair on the board of the Nevada Cancer Institute. He recently pumped $1 million of his own money into a bid to rename the Las Vegas airport after Reid. Last year, he backed an unsuccessful effort to recall Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

Because of his philanthropy and political affiliations, his attorney said, he could not date a woman who posted sexually explicit images and videos of herself online.

But Gurzanski said Cloobeck knew of the racy photos she was taking, and at times encouraged them.

“Stephen is very aware that my modeling career and other businesses are how I support myself financially,” she said in court papers. “Stephen never had any issue with my career during our relationship. In fact, he told me on many occasions he loved what I did.”

Meanwhile, her lawyer alleged that Cloobeck violated a stay-away order.

Gurzanski is seeking $100,000 in damages, alleging that Cloobeck threatened her on Instagram after she blocked his text messages. Cloobeck’s attorneys argued that he was in Mexico when the order was issued.

Gurzanski alleged that she has feared for her life since the two split up.

“He became unhinged and began abusing and harassing me,” she stated in an affidavit. “He began attacking me and everyone around me with the intent of hurting me, isolating me from my friends and family, and he also began to try and destroy my financial independence. He did this, in part, to make my financial well-being dependent on him, and to force me to return to the relationship. I refused.”

Their relationship started to fall apart in December, the lawsuit states, after Cloobeck learned that Gurzanski also used the website OnlyFans.com to post “sexually explicit images.”

Cloobeck alleges that Gurzanski used his credit card to buy more than 100 bikinis and items of lingerie for OnlyFans posts.

Costly courtship

The running tab of all that Cloobeck spent on wooing Gurzanski topped $1.3 million, according to court documents.

That included a $200,000 Richard Mille watch, a $40,000 Audemars Piguet watch and a $40,000 diamond-encrusted Cartier “Love” bracelet. He threw her a birthday party in Cabo San Lucas and spent $7,000 on caviar; bought 80 bottles of Domaines Ott wine and 12 bottles of Don Julio 1942 tequila; and purchased $13,000 worth of “swag bags,” along with $30,000 worth of Chanel handbags for her and five friends.

On one shopping spree, Cloobeck alleges, Gurzanski spent upward of $26,000 after he authorized a $2,120 purchase.

“To be clear, this is not a ‘heartbalm’ action: Cloobeck does not seek damages for a broken heart or an abandoned engagement,” his lawyers wrote. “Rather, he seeks to recover the money that he spent on or for Gurzanski because she misled him into believing that she was someone that she was not.”

Cloobeck, who has openly considered running for Nevada governor, claims that he was duped into thinking that Gurzanski’s social media presence was limited to Instagram and Twitter and that she wanted a lifelong relationship with him.

His attorney said he would settle the lawsuit if she removed the photos and videos that she took on his property, returned all of his gifts, which he would donate to charity, and apologized.

“Stephen is not interested in getting her back,” Allen said. “Now that he knows who she really is, he has absolutely no interest in having a relationship with her any longer.”

Barens said Gurzanski “has nothing to apologize for” and the settlement was “absolutely rejected.”

Allen called Gurzanski’s allegations “total fabrications” and the restraining order “retaliation” for the lawsuit.

“Never did he ever threaten her,” the lawyer said. “Never did he ever hurt her. Never did he ever stalk her.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Tony Spilotro and the mystery of Lake Mead’s body in a barrel

Two experts at Las Vegas’ Mob Museum hypothesize that the ruthless enforcer killed one of three men with mob ties who disappeared decades ago without a trace.