Since their divorce five years ago, Atlanta decorator and author Danielle Rollins has engaged in scorched-earth litigation with her ex-husband Glen Rollins, once a top executive of his family’s multibillion-dollar Orkin pest-control empire.
The highly publicized case may finally be nearing an end, with appeals now pending before the Georgia Court of Appeals. If those appeals are denied, a contempt of court finding against Danielle Rollins will likely stand and she will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and attorneys’ fees to her ex-husband. If the court decides to hear the case, it could be months before it issues a decision.
In court filings, Glen Rollins’ attorney, Scott Berryman, said Danielle Rollins is to blame for the protracted and unnecessary litigation. She took items out of their home that were not hers, lied about what happened, refused to comply with court orders and then allowed her lawyer to pursue frivolous court motions that delayed the case and wasted the resources of the parties and the court system, the motions assert.
Danielle Rollins, 50, declined to comment for this article.
Danielle and Glen Rollins were a radiant couple at their lavish wedding at New York’s Carlyle Hotel in 1995. They became members of Atlanta’s upper crust, sending out coveted invites for their glamorous parties at Boxwood, their Philip Shutze-designed estate on Habersham Road. But Glen Rollins’ repeated transgressions — he admitted sleeping with dozens of prostitutes — ultimately ended the marriage.
“I believe I’m a recovering sex addict,” he testified at one court hearing.
After filing for divorce, Danielle Rollins settled on the eve of trial. She agreed to move out of Boxwood in August 2014, turning it over to her ex-husband. In return, she received more than $15 million (plus $15,000 a month in child support) and a division of the assets.
But shortly after moving out of Boxwood, Danielle Rollins was accused of removing expensive household items that should have been left for her ex-husband. These included Tiffany Cirque tableware, a Zebra hide rug, Christopher Spitzmiller lamps, hand-blown Riedel wine glasses, a blue Hermes cashmere throw, Tiffany Audubon flatware and Ralph Lauren serving platters, according to a court order issued in March. She even removed a hundred doorknobs, worth tens of thousands of dollars, her ex-husband said, and replaced them with knobs from Home Depot.
Initially, when asked in a pretrial deposition about the missing property, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent more than 200 times. Later, during a court hearing, she conceded she’d had a “great lapse in judgment.” She testified she was angry because she believed an arbitrator had not given her a fair shake on the division of property.
Danielle Rollins later returned some of the missing property, but not all of it, and she vandalized the home before she left, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Belinda Edwards found. The judge ordered her to pay Glen Rollins $77,706 to repair and replace the damaged property.
All told, Danielle Rollins must pay her ex-husband more than $300,000 in damages and up to $176,480 in attorneys fees, Edwards ordered. Because the judge also found Danielle Rollins’ lawyer, Chris Corbett, “actively facilitated delay” of the case, he must pay $50,768 of the attorneys’ fee award if Danielle does not pay it in full.
Corbett also declined to comment.
In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in early 2016, Danielle Rollins said she believed her ex-husband was determined to ruin her.
“It’d have been one thing to have screwed me over,” she said. “But to keep kicking? And then, you know, when you’re bleeding, to keep kicking harder? That’s kind of what has happened.”
Atlanta family law attorney Randy Kessler, who is not involved in the litigation, said almost every divorce lawyer in Georgia is aware of the contentious case.
“This case is emblematic of some of the ones we’ve seen where the parties will fight about everything,” he said. “And when they have the resources to do it, the parties will continue to fight and fight and fight. But this case has gone on for so long that every divorce lawyer I know feels sad for the parties in this case. And it’s hard on the attorneys, too.”
Even though many of the disputes in the Rollins’ case center on the cost of lost or damaged property, money may not be the real issue, Kessler said.
“These cases aren’t always just about money,” he said. “They’re about vindication. People want to told that they were right.”
In court filings, Berryman, Glen Rollins’ lawyer, said the evidence presented at court hearings showed that Danielle Rollins took valuable items that weren’t hers and that her vandalism was extensive and intentional.
“Every aspect of (Danielle’s) litigation has been to facilitate her thefts, conceal her culpability and avoid the consequences of her violations of court orders,” Berryman wrote.
In her March order, Edwards agreed. The judge found Danielle Rollins in contempt, and although she could have been jailed for up to 20 days, the judge ordered a $1,000 fine be paid to the ex-husband for “the flagrant and malicious nature of (Danielle’s) refusal to comply with the orders of the court.”
All Glen Rollins, 52, wants to do is put the matter behind him, Berryman said.
“Hopefully this will end it,” Berryman said of the pending appeals. “He didn’t ask for this. He didn’t cause this problem. He just wants everyone to comply with the court’s orders.”
In other news:
Danielle Rollins, author of “Soiree: Entertaining with Style,” now has her own clothing and interior design collection. She lives near Chastain Park, moving into a 1970s Georgian after spending a small fortune on its extensive renovation.
In December, Veranda, a home design magazine, published a house tour of the “dream home,” with photos of the living room, including sofas covered in Prelle silk velvet, and of the master bedroom with a leopard-patterned carpet.
In the Veranda article, Danielle Rollins said she was determined to rebuild her life. “I had just gone through a divorce and lost just about everything,” she said.
In addition to her appeals of Edwards’ order finding her in contempt, Danielle Rollins is also suing the lawyers who represented her in the divorce case. She contends she did not get enough when she settled for more than $15 million. Her previous lawyers recently asked a Fulton State Court judge to dismiss her lawsuit.