Ultra-Rich Socialites Get Conned Into Paying $50,000 For a Kindergarten Finger Painting

Jon and Michelle Heinemann are just your average, concerned parents looking out for the well-being of their children. Sure, their son and daughter pay more in kindergarten fees than many college students attending state schools, but who can place a limit on a child's success and acceptance in the world?

Well, OK, even Jon and Michelle have their limit.

The investment banker and his socialite wife, who creepily resemble Betty and Don Draper, have filed a lawsuit against Hudson's Cathedral School of St. John the Divine, claiming the school conned them into paying $50,000 for an art fundraiser. 

The "art" they purchased, was personally worked on by Michelle, a "renowned" artist herself, and consisted of the traced paper hands of all 18 members of the kindergarten class. In the middle of each hand was a personal answer to the question "How do you feel around art?". My feeble mind struggles to imagine the profound answers elicited by the 5-year-olds, but then again most artists are misunderstood by the cultureless masses. Michelle also donated $6,000 worth of designer clothes to the auction, bless her heart, although there is no news on whether the designs were last season. While the doting parents couldn't fit time into their busy schedules to actually attend the event, they were more than happy to show the support of their children in dollar signs, vowing to place the winning bid for the piece (which was estimated at up to $3,000).


But on the day of the auction, the bid skyrocketed thanks to the devious 1st grade teacher "Mrs. Bryant." Bryant, who "desperately wanted that finger painting," managed to get the price up to $50,000. When the school would not correct the miscalculation, the Heinemanns withdrew their children from their school and filed lawsuit claiming $415,000 in damages. Bravo, Heinemanns. Bravo.

The lawsuit, in addition to covering the cost of the painting, also covers tuition fees and the chauffeur Jon and Michelle will have to hire to transport their precious tikes to their new school. So let's see ... $50,000 in recovered fees for the painting, $20,000 for tuition, and $60,000 for their driver. That makes the tally up to $150,000 (I'm unclear if $20,000 is tuition for one or two children, I'm not an expert in this area).

So what about the remaining $265,000? Could it be damages for psychological trauma? According to the suit, Jon and Michelle's son was the victim of neglect and social ridicule, "consistently left out of school exhibits and films ... and was made to go last at nearly everything." On top of that,"on one occasion, [the] plaintiffs’ 5-year-old son was relegated to the role of 'door-holder' and ordered to hold the door for all of the other students." Representatives of the school have not commented on whether or not this derision was an administrative effort to aid in the child's tortured creative genius.

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Anna Steinbrecher

Born in Chicago, living in Paris. I received my BA in Political Science in 2012 from DePaul University. I have professional experience as an Assistant Education Policy Analyst for The Latino Policy Forum in Chicago, a District Attorney Aid, a Campaign Volunteer, and most recently a Finance PhD Research Assistant in France. Topics I am interested in: sustainable development, international regulations, and economic policy. I enjoy the fine past-times of exploring food, fiction, art, politics, and contemporary film. My most recent explorations in the aforementioned categories are Camembert cheese, "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace, Simon Hantai' s paintings, and David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive".

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