Sacre Bleu! A High-Flying Frenchman Is Accused of Owing Beaucoup Bucks
Mickael Cohen is a 36-year-old self-professed millionaire from France who wears linen suits and looks like a Lothario version of Jon Lovitz. In July, he showed off a Gulfstream jet, a Rolls Royce, a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, an 80-foot yacht, and a Sunny Isles condo that, he said, clients of his company, Air Platinum Club (APC), could have at their disposal.
The only condition: They'd have to purchase 100 hours of flight time at the low, low price of $780,000.
Four months later, and just two years after Air Platinum LLC was founded, Cohen is under siege from creditors, partners, and former employees. They say he has jilted them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In September 2008, Swiss charter company Travcon filed suit against APC in Miami-Dade civil court, claiming Cohen's company had stiffed it out of more than half of an $83,000 bill for a Paris-to-New York flight. The Swiss won in court, and APC's bank accounts were garnished to reimburse some of the $51,791 owed. "Mickael Cohen is not poor," says Philipp Zürcher, Travcon's president. "He is just trying to walk away without payment."
This past January, the company was evicted from a business plaza in North Miami Beach, records show. And on August 17, Cohen announced APC had acquired a shiny new $500,000 Lamborghini Murcielago. Exactly two days later, he was sued by Miami dealership Prestige Motorcar Imports for repossession of said 670-horsepower small-penis compensator. Prestige claimed Cohen had signed two rubber checks and owed a whopping $1.6 million in damages. "Before the litigation, Cohen told us he would return the vehicle and solve the problem," says Prestige attorney Kenneth L. Paretti. "He didn't."
Tossing more shit onto the sundae is Dennis Jans, president of Chicago-based Questar Jets. He claims APC owes his company $96,000, much of it from a flight Cohen chartered in August to take rapper Jay-Z from Nassau, Bahamas, to New York. "He doesn't pay his bills, his employees; he makes his own rules," says Ben Barbarot, formerly APC's director of marketing. He alleges Cohen owes him $15,000 in back wages.
Cohen sounds baffled during a phone call with Riptide, after first turning us away at the ultra-posh Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, where he owns a million-dollar apartment. He fired marketer Barbarot- to whom he admits to owing "at most $500"- for stealing company equipment, he explains in a pâté-thick French accent. Cohen stopped payment on the checks for the Lamborghini because it had a "defect." Both Travcon and Questar owe him hundreds of thousands of dollars. He does admit there are debts involving Jay-Z flights -- which the Jiggaman himself has incurred. "I won't fly Jay-Z ever again," he declares. "He owes me $200,000."