Jennifer Wilbanks claims John Mason owes her money

By Stephen M. Silverman
October 10, 2006 08:00 AM

Jennifer Wilbanks – who a year and a half ago bolted into tabloid infamy as the “Runaway Bride” when she faked her own kidnapping for three days on the eve of her lavish wedding in Duluth, Ga. – is suing her former fianc for $500,000.

Wilbanks’s former husband-to-be, John Mason, has until Oct. 22 to respond to the lawsuit Wilbanks vs. JCM Consulting et al, which was filed Sept. 13 in Georgia’s Gwinnett County’s Superior Court, the Associated Press reports.

In the suit Wilbanks asks for $250,000, which she says is her share of a home Mason purchased with proceeds from $500,000 he received after selling their story to an agent. She also wants $250,000 in punitive damages, claiming that Mason allegedly abused the power of attorney she granted for him to handle their finances, according to Atlanta FOX TV station WAGA.

Additionally, Wilbanks wants to see Mason’s bank statements and seeks the return of personal property she claims is still in Mason’s possession. Among her claims, says WAGA, is that she is owed money that had been earmarked for the couple’s honeymoon that never happened.

Mason has not commented, on the advice of his attorney, the TV station reported.

After her widely publicized flight last year, Mason quickly took Wilbanks back, with the couple even moving into a large new home in an Atlanta suburb and talking about taking a second run at marriage.

But in early May this year Mason’s camp let it be known that any nuptials were off, PEOPLE reported, with Wilbanks telling the magazine, “I’m not confirming or denying the breakup. John and I have some things to work out.”

Mason’s family and friends said that the split was permanent. “I think John realized there were some fundamental differences in their personalities that he wasn’t going to be able to deal with,” a friend of Mason, who runs his family’s Duluth medical-care business, told PEOPLE.

As for Wilbanks, after pleading no contest to faking her story to police about an abduction and sexual assault, she was sentenced to two years’ probation and performed 120 hours of community service (she picked up trash, washed state cars, cut grass and did office work) for making false statements about the kidnapping and has paid back nearly $15,000 to cover the cost of the police search.

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