John Wayne’s Daughter, Friend Attacked

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Aissa Wayne, daughter of the late actor John Wayne, and her financier companion were threatened with death after being attacked and brutally beaten in his $3-million Newport Beach estate, she said Tuesday.

Wayne, 32, and Roger W. Luby, 52, were followed into his electronically gated Newport Beach estate Monday morning by two gunmen, who bound their hands and feet and pistol-whipped them on the head, police spokesman Greg Armstrong said.

“You’re messing with the wrong guy. Next time we’ll kill you,” Wayne on Tuesday said one of the assailants had told her.

Wayne, who was recovering at her mother’s home, declined to elaborate, but her mother, Pilar Wayne, said: “Her face was beaten. They tied her up with rope. A plastic thing. It was very professional.”

Luby’s legs were slashed and his Achilles’ tendons partially severed. The attack lasted only a few minutes before the intruders fled, Armstrong said. Luby and Wayne were treated and released from Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Armstrong said.

Police ruled out robbery as a motive and said nothing was taken in the incident. They said they are pursuing leads in several areas including Luby’s and Wayne’s personal, social and business contacts.

“You’ve got both people involved in divorces. Ms. Wayne is involved in a child custody case; (Luby) is involved in a very heavy lawsuit,” Newport Beach Police Detective Sgt. Mike Jackson said.

Luby, involved in divorce proceedings with his wife, Sassy, is also in the middle of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit involving the bankruptcy of a major Los Angeles development project. Wayne–the eldest daughter of Pilar and John Wayne–is getting divorced from Thomas A. Gionis, an orthopedic surgeon, and is involved in a child custody case.

According to Pilar Wayne, the family has “no inkling whatsoever” who might be responsible for the attacks.

Witnesses told police they saw two men near the estate in a pickup truck but that no one saw the attack, which occurred in a driveway leading to Luby’s estate.

Pilar Wayne said her daughter and Luby, who have been dating since March, had just returned from jogging about 11 a.m. Monday when the two gunmen jumped them from a garage where they had hidden.

“One jumped on Roger, hit him and tied his legs,” Pilar Wayne said. “They smashed her beautiful face against the floor. When she went to the hospital, she was all bloody. We called a plastic surgeon right away.”

Luby, a mortgage financier, filed suit earlier this year against a consortium of investors, alleging that they reneged on a deal to finance his rehabilitation of the historic Broadway department store in downtown Los Angeles. Luby claims he had to file for personal bankruptcy last year after he put up his own money in an effort to salvage the project.

The consortium of 32 Oklahoma savings and loans, known as Siscorp., had agreed to finance a construction loan of $56 million when the project began in May, 1984, according to records on file at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles.

But the consortium quit sending money to Luby after the building rehabilitation was under way, leaving him with a shortfall of nearly $16 million, the bankruptcy records show. Luby tried to raise money through personal loans and borrowed against his $2.9-million home, causing him to go deeply into debt when the project defaulted in September, 1986, with rehabilitation more than half completed, the records show.

Luby’s financial troubles were so severe earlier this year that one bank tried to begin foreclosure proceedings on his home. But Nancy C. Hsieh, a Century City lawyer handling the bankruptcy proceeding, said that a judge gave Luby time to attempt to resolve the litigation against the Oklahoma investors.

Times staff writers Ann Conway, Mariann Hansen, Carla Rivera and Ronald L. Soble contributed to this story.

October 05, 1988|JIM CARLTON | Times Staff Writer

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