A celebrity wedding planner has been caught ripping off her late grandfathers’ huge fortune, partly by forging documents with his signature.
Kashaya Williams’ business Kashaya & Co has organised special days for couples like Bachelor Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich, AFL star Kieren Jack and his wife Charlotte Goodlet, and even model Erin Holland.
But the NSW Supreme Court heard last week that despite regularly mingling with the top end of town, the lavish lifestyle portrayed by Kashaya and her real estate mogul husband Evan Williams has been massively funded by her late grandfather.
During a marriage of almost 70 years, Dr Alan Grant and his wife Gwynneth amassed a mutli-million dollar property portfolio through astute investments.
But the couple’s wealth was depleted by their daughter Nerez who over more than a decade ‘dishonestly breached’ her responsibility to her father’s estate, often to the benefit of granddaughter Kashaya.
On one occasion she even forged a letter that claimed Dr Grant wanted Kashaya to have one of his homes for free.
The court found that Kashaya had accepted a $60,000 cash transfer and $900,000 home, despite knowing it would leave her grandfather ‘substantially disadvantaged’.
Celebrity wedding planner and florist Kashaya Williams (pictured with husband Evan) has been ordered to hand back a $900,000 home she received from her late grandfather’s estate
Kashaya will now have to hand over the home she received, while her mum will have to cough up $130,000 back into Dr Grant’s estate.
But the mother and daughter pair were only forced to give back what they took after the Grant’s other children took the matter to court in an attempt to settle an ongoing feud.
The court heard the Grants married in 1953 and welcomed their daughter Nerez, the first of five children, in 1956.
After raising their family in the Hunter Valley they moved to Sydney, buying a home in the harbourside suburb of McMahons Point for $750,000 in 1993.
For years before they moved both Dr Grant and his wife had struggled with Nerez’s drug use and attitude towards them, including her regularly ‘harassing them for money’.
Despite their toxic relationship with Nerez, the pair were determined to remain close to their granddaughter Kashaya.
They provided her with opportunities her mother could not including a trip to Europe and the U.S in 1997, something they did not offer to any of their other grandchildren.
Dr Grant would often sign cheques for his daughter, and in about 2008 and 2009 he began to also regularly give money to his granddaughter.
In the years that followed he would continue to give money to Kashaya, her husband and their wedding planning business, the court heard.
Dr Grant would give his credit card to Kashaya and her mother, or alternatively they would take him to ATMs and get him to withdraw cash, the court heard.
Dr Grant’s credit card statements from around that time included baby products, a brand new Audi Q5, and renovations to Kashaya’s property at MacMasters Beach on the Central Coast.
The most controversial payment Kashaya received was was $50,000 for her lavish wedding to Evan Williams, a real estate mogul with prominent Sydney agents The Rubenstein Group
Kashaya was the florist for AFL star Kieren Jack (right) and TV reporter wife Charlotte Goodlet’s (left) wedding. They are pictured with fellow TV reporter Julie Snook (far left) and actor partner Hugo Johnstone-Burt (far right) on their special day
But the most controversial payment was $50,000 to Kashaya for her lavish wedding to Evan Williams, the prominent Sydney real estate agent.
‘The significant cost of this wedding… was a cause of considerable friction in the family and Mrs Grant was not pleased that Dr Grant had been quite so generous with Kashaya,’ Justice Michael Slattery told the court.
Payments continued to flood in to Nerez and Kashaya over the years to come, much to the anger of Mrs Grant.
It eventually drove a wedge in the marriage of 60 years and led Mrs Grant to attempt in 2011 to sever the joint tenancies of the properties she and her husband owned.
Instead, Dr Grant and Mrs Grant went through mediation and agreed to sell the three houses they owned in NSW, pocketing more than $3.4million each.
In 2012, Mrs Grant cut both Nerez and Kashaya out of her will.
The court heard how in or around 2014 a ‘power struggle’ emerged between Nerez and Kashaya for control over Dr Grant’s mother. Nerez won.
By the time his wife died in May 2017, Dr Grant was living in a nursing home and after decades of family infighting he admitted to his son he had regrets about the control he had given his daughter over his life.
‘Nerez has isolated me from her [Mrs Grant] and my children,’ Dr Grant told his son.
Just a few months later Nerez – who was now in control of her elderly father’s estate – transferred a home owned by Dr Grant at Killcare into Kashaya’s name.
Kashaya then leased it back to her mother on a lifelong deal.
The court heard that Mrs Williams (right) knew a letter signing a $900,000 home over from her grandfather to her was forged. She was slammed by Justice Slattery as an ‘unreliable witness’
Credit card payments from Dr Grant went not just to Kashaya, but also to her business Kashaya & Co, which recently put together the gender reveal party for Bachelor couple Anna Heinrich and Tim Robards
This mansion overlooking Sydney Harbour was the family home for Dr and Mrs Grant after they moved to Sydney in the 1990s. Dr Grant took sole control of the home in 2013 for $2.1 million
When questioned about this in court Nerez claimed that Dr Grant always wanted the home to be gifted to Kashaya, but for her to live there to ‘have a roof over her head’.
‘It is what my father wanted. He had verbally said it numerous times. I even had very small notes from him written that he would – I can’t find those,’ she claimed in court.
‘I found a copy of a note that he said he wanted that. So, that was his wishes: to have that property transferred to Kashaya and for me to live there.’
Nerez and Kashaya also produced a letter they claimed was from him, but the court found that Dr Grant’s signature had been forged.
‘Apart from the word “Alan” which does appear to be in Dr Grant’s handwriting, the rest of the 10 April 2016 document is typed,’ Justice Slattery found.
Overall the court heard that Dr Grant had transferred a total of $373,703 to Kashaya, her husband Mr Williams or to their event planning business Kashaya & Co.
That came in addition to the overseas trips and paying for her education at a Sydney private school, with the court hearing Dr Grant had taken up a father figure role in her life.
One of their regular customers, Anna Heinrich poses with a bouquet of flowers from Kashaya & Co
Handing down his judgement in the NSW Supreme Court (pictured), Justice Michael Slattery ruled that Nerez pay back $100,000 and Kashaya forfeit the $900,000 Killcare property
Dr Grant passed away in November 2019, aged 98.
Despite referencing a long history of potentially dishonest behaviour by Kashaya and her mother, Justice Slattery was only ordered to rule on a single transfer of $100,000 received by Nerez and the Killcare property.
He ruled that Nerez pay back the $100,000, plus $34,700 in compensation, and that Kashaya forfeit the Killcare property.
Kashaya had already repaid $60,000 transferred from Dr Grant’s account to her by her mother.
In total more than a dozen witnesses, many family members or close friends, were in court to give evidence during the lengthy trial.
Separate court proceedings over the probate of Dr Grant’s will are ongoing.
Kashaya Williams told Daily Mail Australia she was appealing against the decision of the NSW Supreme Court.