Spice Girl Mel B mistook a property appraiser
parked outside of her Los Angeles home with a camera for a paparazzo and sic'd her hubby on him. The appraiser, Amada Aguirre, claims he was assaulted by Scary Spice and husband producer Stephen Belafonte while just trying to do his job. Apparently, he was scared enough to file a lawsuit alleging assault, battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A press release
issued by the law firm, Frederick S. Schwartz, Esq., says that Aguirre had no idea the home belonged to a celebrity.
As if appraisers weren't vilified enough these days, thanks to a few bad (ok, really bad)
Apparently Scary Spice, whose real name is Melanie Brown, was out walking her dog when she spotted Aguirre parked in front of her driveway. Court papers say that he was hired to appraise a home in this Tarzana neighborhood, and was simply evaluating comps. (It seems it's rather routine to get a good grasp on a comp by observing from the driveway. If the jobs of good appraisers weren't in jeopardy
, maybe they'd get out of their vehicles more often and they wouldn't have to resort to lawsuits to help pay the bills.)
Whatever the case, that doesn't excuse Brown's alleged actions. The suit claims she gestured to her husband and one of their employees. As Mr. Belafonte stood in front of the car, perhaps in an attempt to keep Aguirre from driving away, the employee walked up to the driver's door, reached into the car and attempted to seize the camera from Aguirre's possession. In the scuffle, the suit claims, Mr. Aguirre suffered "serious" bodily injury.
This isn't the first time an appraiser has been injured on the job, but often the attacks are from dogs
, not their owners. As a result, some appraisers go armed with more than just a notebook and a camera. Bibb County, Georgia once gave its county appraisers an ultrasonic noise device meant to chase away unruly animals. Others carry chemical repellents, such as pepper spray. However, we wouldn't have recommended either in this case. Pepper spray just might make a Spice Girl even spicier.
Sheree R. Curry is an award-winning business journalist who lives in a Minneapolis suburb.
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