Jewelry Theft Case Settled: Victim Was Georgetown Socialite Jacqueline Quillen


Well it’s finally over. The accusations, investigations, lawsuits of substantial theft of beloved Georgetown wine connoisseur and socialite Jacquelin Quillen’s jewels, art work and valuable furniture by her live-in romantic partner before and following her death in 2020, was announced in early August as settled according to D.C. Federal Court records. The settlement’s terms are not included in the records.

Parker Quillen, Jacqueline Quillen’s son, described the settlement as “acceptable, if not satisfactory,” in a brief telephone interview with the Washington Post. 

On Jan. 20, 2022, The Georgetowner recounted how the popular 76 year-old Quillen had become suspicious of her longtime companion Lawrence Gray, 77, after he had been arrested and arraigned for an alleged jewelry theft in 2016 from the Rhode Island home of a wealthy friend with whom they were staying as weekend guests. Airmail reported that Quillen began keeping a diary of her suspicions that Gray, a multilingual retired tenured professor of political science, was responsible for the theft of well over a million dollars of family heirlooms. Close to her death she shared her suspicions with her sons.

Quillen, the owner of the wine department for Christie’s North America and heiress of two East Coast families of wealth, hosted many social events at her home on 3507 R St. NW.  She had many close friends in the area. After being alerted by one of those friends in 2021, Krista Johnson, owner of Ella Rue — a high end fashion and consignment shop at 3231 P St. NW — secured a police order barring Gray from entering the store because of “suspected theft” of an item he was trying to consign.

Jacqueline Quillen was the subject of a Walter Nicholls column, “What’s Cooking, Neighbor?” In The Georgetowner in 2013. Georgetowner photo.

Following up on Johnson’s suspicions, Quillen’s sons Parker and Bart traveled to Georgetown soon after, The Georgetowner reported in January. “Walking into the L’Enfant antique store across the street from Ella Rue was like walking into our mother’s house,” they told the Airmail reporter. “Our whole family heritage was for sale right in front of our eyes. There was porcelain and china, Italian glassware, landscapes, seascapes, rare prints, etchings, and the silk Persian rug that had once lived under their mother’s dining-room table — all familiar, and all of it sold or consigned by Larry Gray.”

In the end, however, the family found it was difficult to prove a crime was committed, to demonstrate that Gray was not given the items by Quillen as gifts as he claimed. This month’s decision ends what had become “a financially burdensome and untenable lawsuit” Quillen’s son told the Washington Post. In a subsequent text, Parker Quillen wrote that as trustee, his role was to “reclaim and liquidate the trust’s assets. Having accomplished that, continuing to privately fund what should have been law enforcement’s job, protecting private property and prosecuting crime — that’s what taxes are for.”

According to the court filing submitted jointly by lawyers for Quillen and Gray, the agreement was reached “without any admission as to fault, liability or wrongdoing.”

Grey is still facing the charge that he stole a diamond and sapphire brooch valued at $32,000 from a friend’s Newport, Rhode Island, home in 2016. The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28. 

The L’Enfant Gallery antique store plans to move another location as its building is for sale.

 

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