Mere days after the release of his new box office hit Killers Of The Flower Moon — from the London premiere of which DeNiro was conspicuously absent — Robert DeNiro has become embroiled in yet another lawsuit involving his former personal assistant, Chase Robertson.
While the case has delved into almost every aspect of the apparently complex relationship between DeNiro, Robertson, and DeNiro’s romantic partners — with text messages and emails between all three being dragged up as evidence in court — there was one travel-centric claim that caught our eye.
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While The Daily Mail offers a full rundown on every perplexing detail the case has to offer, it was our friends over at View From The Wing who picked out this fascinating little detail: DeNiro is counterclaiming that Robertson stole 5 million Delta SkyMiles from him, each valued at 4.3 cents and, therefore, totalling over A$330,000 all-in.
Even more baffling is that this represents a step down from DeNiro’s previous claim that Robertson had stolen 7 million air miles, showing just how longwinded and surreal some aspects of this ruckus have become.
Robertson, who was for many years DeNiro’s personal assistant before taking on a different role as ‘Vice President of Production and Finance’, is being sued by DeNiro primarily for misappropriation of company funds, including the use of a corporate Amex card for personal trips away and to cover expenses such as grocery shopping, dog sitting, pilates classes, and rental cars
Back Scratching And Overvaluations
However, the case has also come to encompass a number of strange requests made of Robertson by DeNiro that, she believes, went far beyond the remit of her US$300,000 salary. These include ordering Uber Eats for DeNiro at 11pm and scratching his back when she was apparently uncomfortable doing so, adding an unpleasant #MeToo dimension to this case.
The allegations suggest that boundaries were breached on both sides of the aisle, but there’s an important detail to note in regard to our specific interest in the air miles claim: DeNiro’s valuation of the SkyMiles at 4.3 cents apiece appears to significantly overestimate their actual value by a factor of four. As Gary Leff summarises:
“There’s no mileage currency worth 4 cents apiece, and SkyMiles is among the less valuable currencies.”Gary Leff
However, DeNiro is far from the first person to bring such an overinflated figure to court, with the volatile value of air miles causing confusion amongst plaintiffs and lawyers across the board. While it’s an ugly case that only seems to be getting nastier, we hope they can at least figure out this relatively minor detail.