A New York City socialite perhaps best known for her unspeakably acrimonious divorce from the world’s leading Andy Warhol collector allegedly threatened to have a professional photographer shot dead over a petty personal spat, then allegedly had the man thrown in jail on bogus criminal charges and destroyed his once-promising career.
In an explosive new lawsuit, shutterbug Jacob Beam says his entire life has gone down the tubes thanks to Libbie Mugrabi—who reportedly once had a physical altercation with ex-husband David Mugrabi over a $500,000 Keith Haring sculpture—and that he now works as a part-time food deliveryman while attempting to get past the “psychological and emotional issues caused by [the] horrific ordeal he has undergone.”
The multi-million-dollar suit was filed Sunday by Beam’s attorney, Kenneth McCallion, in New York State Supreme Court. McCallion declined to comment on the case or to make Beam available on Monday for an interview.
Mugrabi, 42, made headlines in 2018 for a nasty divorce she said she financed by selling her engagement ring for $100,000. (“The same thing that got me into this marriage is going to get me out,” she told The New York Times.) The split was touched off by accusations of psilocybin-and-ketamine-fueled infidelity, and the pair battled in court over everything from tens of millions in art to a $72 million Upper East Side townhouse to a nine-bedroom Hamptons house to a classic 1974 Ferrari.
Earlier this summer, Mugrabi showed up to court in body armor, claiming her ex was scheming to have her killed. (David Mugrabi called the claim “the most ridiculous story I ever heard.”) In June 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, an unrepentant Mugrabi disregarded public health guidelines and held a dinner for 50 people during Art Basel in Miami. The following year, Mugrabi was arrested for allegedly pulling a knife on her live-in housekeeper, who also said her hotheaded boss threatened her with a mop handle. She pleaded not guilty last December to charges of menacing, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of a weapon; it is unclear exactly where the case currently stands.
Today, Mugrabi produces a line of streetwear under the label Libbie Love, selling accessories like trucker hats, handbags, and vibrators. It was through Libbie Love that Beam first got involved with Mugrabi, according to his complaint.
The two met in December 2021, through a mutual friend, the complaint states. Mugrabi was impressed with Beam’s photography portfolio, and flew him to Hawaii for a photoshoot, it says. And although the Hawaii shoot was later canceled, Beam, who was living at the time in Bloomington, Indiana, says Mugrabi asked him to come work with her in New York, which he agreed to do.
Mugrabi paid for Beam to pick up and move in with her, according to the complaint. He says he worked out of Mugrabi’s home studio, doing web design, graphic design, and photography for Libbie Love while also working as Mugrabi’s personal assistant.
But on May 22, 2022, things suddenly took a turn for the bizarre. That’s when Beam says Mugrabi “had a fit of rage, and impulsively shouted at [Beam] to ‘get out’ of the townhouse,” the complaint states.
“[Mugrabi] had apparently rummaged through [Beam’s] personal belongings and had found a journal that he was keeping, which made reference to her,” it goes on. “She loudly told him, ‘How dare you write about me. You know I have a book deal with Simon and Schuster, and if you try to profit off my name I will send someone to shoot you through the head. Do you understand?’” (Mugrabi did reportedly sign a “six-figure” book deal in 2020, for an as-yet unreleased novel based on her bitter split from David.)
Beam dutifully left, and Mugrabi’s then-publicist booked him a room at a nearby hotel, which Beam paid for upon arrival, according to the complaint. The next evening, Beam was taking a walk through Central Park when Mugrabi called, demanding he return some clothing designs he had stored on his laptop, the complaint continues.
“She also threatened him, telling him that she was calling the police,” it states. “[Beam’s] co-worker later told [him] that she was present with [Mugrabi] during a conversation with the police, and that [she] had a wine glass in her hand and there were prescription pills all over the place. The co-worker also overheard [Mugrabi] tell the police that they needed to take her seriously because she was a rich woman.”
After Beam got back to the hotel, the NYPD showed up at his door, according to the complaint. It says the officers informed Beam that “a woman reported that you had held her at gunpoint and forced her to book this hotel room.” Beam was also told that Mugrabi had accused him of stealing her camera, which in fact belonged to Beam, the complaint states, adding that Beam “was never in possession of and has never owned a gun.”
Nevertheless, Beam was arrested on a raft of charges, including stalking, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon, the complaint says. He spent a night in jail before being arraigned the next day in New York County Criminal Court and released on his own recognizance.
After Beam was sprung, he went back home to Indiana “in a total state of shock and mortification,” according to the complaint.
“Thereafter, he has continuously suffered from extreme anxiety and depression,” it says.
On Sept. 6, 2022, all of the charges against Beam were dismissed.
“Due to the post-traumatic distress that he has continued to experience, [Beam] has been unable to work full-time, and has been in a near-constant state of anxiety and depression,” the complaint states. “He supports himself as best he can by delivering food on a part-time basis, and he has sought the assistance of a therapist to help him try to function and to try to overcome his psychological and emotional issues caused by horrific ordeal he has undergone, which was directly caused by [Mugrabi’s] outrageous and malicious actions.”
Beam is asking for a jury trial and at least $5 million in damages. Mugrabi did not immediately respond on Monday to a voicemail, email, and text seeking comment.