“On November 7, 2015, following a five-year engagement and months of planning, Jordan and Andi exchanged wedding vows during an extravagant ceremony at the Amangiri resort in Utah,” where rooms go for a minimum of $2,200 per night, a newly-filed lawsuit reads. The Coveteur, which meticulously documented the $1 million-plus affair at the bride’s behest, “gushed that it was ‘[t]he dreamiest desert wedding you’ve ever seen.” Hello Magazine called it “picture perfect.”
The 4-day long event was rife with Dior, Valentino, and Oscar de la Renta wares for the bride, private plane travel, and “horseback riding, zip-lining, painting, and hiking” for the 60 guests, including actresses Elizabeth Olsen and Alexis Nichole Smith, and designer Brian Atwood, who were – per the wedding invitations – encouraged to “dress to turn heads,” to match their clothes to colors, such as eucalyptus, desert rose, and dune ecru, and to “frequently change [their] outfits” during the multi-day affair.
Immediately after the wedding, Andi and Jordan embarked on a $25,000 one-month long honeymoon and three years of wedded bliss. That is, until late last year when the groom, Jordan Blackmore, says he learned he was never actually married at all.
According to the May 3rd lawsuit that Mr. Blackmore filed in a Brooklyn federal court, his “wife” Andi Potamkin broke off their marriage in December 2018. In the process of reaching a settlement and separation agreement, Blackmore – an entrepreneur and hair stylist to-the-stars – says that he learned that “the last three years of his life had been based on a fraud, orchestrated by Andi and [her father] Alan Potamkin, who duped [him] into believing that he was married to Andi.”
What tipped him off? Blackmore, 35, claims that he first learned of the “fraud” by way of language in the settlement agreement. In addition to granting him “a $1 million payment, a transfer of land in upstate New York, and indemnification by Alan and Andi for any tax liability associated with the settlement payment or land transfer,” the settlement referred to their wedding as a “symbolic ceremony … that did not constitute a legally binding marriage.” That was a red flag.
As first reported by the New York Post, Blackmore asserts that despite “persistently representing both to [him] and publicly that she intended to marry,” his so-called wife Andi Potamkin, 30, “never wanted to marry [him].” Instead, she “just wanted a lavish wedding experience, a public relations stunt and the attention that came with it.”
More than that, Blackmore asserts that Alan Potamkin, the co-chairman of Potamkin Auto group – “did not want his daughter to be legally married to Jordan because he was afraid that Jordan would not sign a prenuptial agreement before the wedding,” (Blackmore asserts that he did, in fact, sign the agreement), but also did not want to cancel the impending nuptials, as that would cause “Alan a significant financial loss and deeply embarrass the Potamkin family.”
So, Ms. Potamkin and her father “fraudulently induced Jordan unwittingly to participate in a wedding that was a sham” - per the complaint - to ensure that Andi could reap all of the Instagrammable benefits of a wedding without any of the legal obligations.
The fraud included Andi “secretly directing the wedding officiant” – a yoga instructor friend of the couple – “not to become ordained so that the wedding would not be official.” Blackmore alleges that Andi – a New York social figure who works as the Director of Business Development for her father’s company – “lied to the officiant, saying that she and Jordan intended to get ‘officially’ married in New York,” where they live, “before traveling to the Utah ceremony.”
As such, Andi informed the officiant that she “did not need to be, and should not be, legally authorized to marry the couple,” per Blackmore, communications that “Andi and Alan hid from [him in order to] deceive him into believing that the ceremony would result in an official and lawful marriage.”
“Surprised and deeply injured by the revelation that his marriage had been a sham orchestrated by Andi and Alan,” Blackmore says that he has “suffered and will continue to suffer damages, including time and money spent on Jordan’s and Andi’s relationship, properties, and lifestyle during the ‘marriage,’” as well as “mental and physical harm and medical costs resulting from the defendants’ acts,” among other things. As a result, he has set forth claims of fraud, breach of contract, and defamation against Andi and Alan, and is seeking upwards of $2 million in damages.
UPDATED (May 15, 2019): In an answer filed on Wednesday, Ms. Potamkin denies the claims set forth against her by Mr. Blackmore and lodged a handful of defenses. In addition to denying that Blackmore “was ‘duped’ about anything” in connection with their allegedly fraudulent marriage, counsel for Potamkin asserts in the filing that in reality, Blackmore’s lawsuit, itself, is the “fraud, as Blackmore knew at all material times that he and Andi would not be ‘legally wed’ until they went to the courthouse to execute the appropriate paperwork.”
Potamkin denies the five causes of action asserted in Blackmore’s suit, as well as any “reference [to] fraud, lies, secrets or any misconduct on [her] part,” and asserts 13 affirmative defenses, (i.e., a fact – or set of facts other than those alleged by the plaintiff – which, if proven by the defendant (Potamkin here), defeat or mitigate the legal consequences of the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct), including "unclean hands," a legal term meaning that one party (Blackmore in this case) acted in bad faith, statute of frauds, waiver, and failure by Blackmore to mitigate his damages, among others.
In regards to Blackmore’s defamation claim, alone, Potamkin claims the ultimate defense: truth, and also asserts that the defamation claim is barred “because the allegedly defamatorystatements were statements of opinion.”
And not to be overlooked: the “introduction” to Potakim’s filing, which asserts that “Blackmore was hoping that the dissemination of the would be - if true - embarrassing information [in his complaint] would result in Andi doing anything to avoid public humiliation. The problem with Blackmore’s strategy is that there is hard evidence demonstrating his claims are a shill.”
That evidence, according to the filing, includes two emails that “establish that Blackmore unequivocally knew” that a marriage certificate would need to be filed for the marriage to be legally-binding, and another that “makes clear that Blackmore thought the decision to separate was ‘for the best’ and acknowledge[s] Andi’s ‘bravery’ in making the difficult decision to end the marriage.”
“In short,” the answer asserts, “after wading through the baseless and irrelevant information that litter his complaint, it is clear that Blackmore’s claims are precariously perched on knowing falsehoods. Apparently in Blackmore’s haste to extract a financial windfall, he forgot the paper trail that he left behind.”
*The case is William Jordan Blackmore v. Andi Potamkin a/k/a Andi Potamkin Blackmore and Alan Potamkin, 1:19-cv-02617 (EDNY).