Kashaya Williams: Bankrupt celebrity wedding planner flaunts her jet-set lifestyle and Louis Vuitton luggage – despite owing hundreds of thousands in will row after trying to snatch her granddad’s house
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Bankrupt celebrity wedding planner Kashaya Williams has flaunted her jet-set lifestyle in a tropical paradise just days after her assets were seized over $755,000 of debts.
But on Thursday, she updated friends with details of her flashy trip to Queensland‘s Whitsundays for the prestigious Hamilton Island Race Week sailing event days later.
A video on her private Instagram account showed her jetting in with expensive Louis Vuitton luggage to attend the elite yacht race, which ran from August 19 to 26.
She and an unnamed friend were seen lapping up the sunshine by a palm-tree-lined pool, sipping champagne cocktails and fine wines, and living it up on the dancefloor.
The pair was also seen frolicking on a Sea-Doo watercraft after being ferried aboard the luxury charter yacht Sea Raes in a video clip captioned ‘Trouble in Paradise’.
Other clips showed them wearing branded crew-style clothing from one of the major yachts taking part in the competition, the supermaxi Andoo Comanche.
Hamilton Island Race Week is one of the most famous yachting events, attracting spectators and yachties worldwide to the Whitsundays for on- and off-shore events.
It boasts a ‘fantastic party atmosphere’ and a star-studded list of regulars for Australia’s ‘largest offshore keelboat regatta’.
As well as ‘Grand Prix-style’ yacht racing, it lays on fashion shows and slap-up meals from celebrity chefs, as well as high-class wine tastings and golf competitions.
The video has sickened some of those still owed money by Williams, including one couple whose wedding plans were wrecked when they say she vanished with their cash.
‘It’s infuriating,’ they said. ‘She’s supposed be bankrupt but she’s going on luxury holidays and showcasing them on Instagram.
‘It’s actually quite extraordinary and insulting.
‘She won’t even respond to my lawyers’ emails to recover the thousands of dollars we paid her for wedding-planning services.’
Williams, from ritzy Darling Point in Sydney’s east, was declared bankrupt after her family turned on her in a row over her wealthy grandfather’s will.
Relatives of top radiologist Alan Grant, who died in 2019 at the age of 98, have been ripped apart by years of legal wrangling over his estate.
Williams claimed her grandfather had gifted her his $900,000 home overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Killcare, on the NSW Central Coast.
But her uncle, neuroscientist Professor Seth Grant, and her aunt Tansin, successfully took Ms Williams and her mother Nerez Grant to court in 2020 to recover the property.
The NSW Supreme Court ruled the crucial letter giving her the home was a fake and Ms Williams was ‘a knowing participant in a dishonest scheme’.
Three years later, however, Williams still owes her grandfather’s estate $754,543.33 from two court judgements against her in the epic legal battle over his will.
Ms William ran Sydney wedding business Kashaya & Co, a favourite of big-name couples such as AFL star Kieren Jack and Charlotte Goodlet, and Bachelor lovebirds Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich.
In June, her ex-husband, high-profile eastern suburbs real estate agent Evan Williams, 39, pleaded guilty to common assault and intimidation of his son, but the charges were dismissed on mental health grounds.
The bankruptcy blow came after the legal wrangle over a 50-word letter that was found to have been forged for Williams to take possession of the Killcare home.
In 2021, NSW Supreme Court heard Ms William’s mother Nerez – Dr Grant’s eldest child – claimed he had handed her a letter about the property seven years ago.
The April 11, 2016, letter purportedly stated: ‘Dear Nerez, I want to give the Killcare house to Kashaya.
‘I want you to live there for the rest of your life. I give you a lifetime tenancy. I will pay for the transfer. Please transfer the property to Kashaya.
‘Thank you for all the care of me.’
The letter was typed except for its final word, Dr Grant’s name, signed Alan, the court judgment said.
Nerez, 67, who had enduring power of attorney over Dr Grant’s estate at the time, transferred the property to her daughter and paid the stamp duty.
But Justice John Slattery accepted evidence from a handwriting expert that Alan’s signature was forged.
Dr Grant’s son Seth called evidence from analyst Melanie Holt who said the signature appeared to have been copied from another document.
‘The handwritten name… is not natural writing,’ Ms Holt found. The signature was identical to a previous autograph of Dr Grant’s from years earlier, she said.
The judge accepted evidence that the signature had been photocopied from another document and the letter was fabricated.
Justice Slattery later ruled that Kashaya had obtained the property in a ‘dishonest and fraudulent scheme’ involving herself and her mother.
‘They must have known that this was a fraud on Dr Grant because they were taking his last asset and putting him in a helpless position,’ the judge said in his decision.
However, in follow-up ruling, the judge noted while ‘one or other of Nerez Grant or Kashaya Williams must have been responsible’ for the forged letter, the court has not found which was responsible.
Dr Grant and his late wife Gwynneth were described as a gifted couple – with him practising medicine and her playing violin with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
They built a multimillion-dollar fortune during their 70-year marriage, which family members had benefited handsomely from.
However, the clan was left ‘deeply scarred’ by ongoing feuds which lingered on even after Mrs Grant died in 2017 and Dr Grant in 2019.
In 2020, Justice Slattery ordered the Killcare property be transferred to Seth Grant, as the administrator of his estate.
But Ms Williams and Nerez Grant appealed. They argued the judge had failed to take into account ‘expert reports’ supporting their case.
A panel of judges dismissed that appeal in 2021, ruling they had failed to identify any expert reports, or refute the handwriting expert’s testimony.
The appeal was dismissed and Nerez and Kashaya were ordered to pay Professor Grant and Tansin’s costs.
The row that split a family and ended a near-70 year marriage
In 2020, NSW Supreme Court heard the Grants married in 1953 and welcomed their daughter Nerez, the first of five children, in 1956.
After raising their family in the Hunter Valley they moved to Sydney, buying a home in the harbourside suburb of McMahons Point for $750,000 in 1993.
For years before they moved, both Dr Grant and his wife had struggled with Nerez’s drug use and attitude towards them, including her regularly ‘harassing them for money’, the court was told.
Despite their toxic relationship with Nerez, the pair were determined to remain close to their granddaughter Kashaya.
They provided her with opportunities her mother could not including a trip to Europe and the U.S in 1997, something they did not offer to any of their other grandchildren.
Dr Grant would often sign cheques for his daughter, and in about 2008 and 2009 he began to also regularly give money to his granddaughter.
In the years that followed he would continue to give money to Kashaya, her husband and their wedding planning business, the court heard.
Dr Grant would give his credit card to Kashaya and her mother, or alternatively they would take him to ATMs and get him to withdraw cash, the court heard.
Dr Grant’s credit card statements from around that time included baby products, a brand new Audi Q5, and renovations to Kashaya’s property at MacMasters Beach on the Central Coast.
But the most controversial payment was $50,000 to Kashaya for her lavish wedding to Evan Williams, the prominent Sydney real estate agent.
‘The significant cost of this wedding… was a cause of considerable friction in the family and Mrs Grant was not pleased that Dr Grant had been quite so generous with Kashaya,’ Justice Michael Slattery told the court.
Payments continued to flood in to Nerez and Kashaya over the years to come, much to the anger of Mrs Grant.
It eventually drove a wedge in the marriage of 60 years and led Mrs Grant to attempt in 2011 to sever the joint tenancies of the properties she and her husband owned.
Instead, Dr Grant and Mrs Grant went through mediation and agreed to sell the three houses they owned in NSW, pocketing more than $3.4million each.
In 2012, Mrs Grant cut both Nerez and Kashaya out of her will.
The court heard how in or around 2014 a ‘power struggle’ emerged between Nerez and Kashaya for control over Dr Grant’s mother. Nerez won.
By the time his wife died in May 2017, Dr Grant was living in a nursing home and after decades of family infighting he admitted to his son he had regrets about the control he had given his daughter over his life.
‘Nerez has isolated me from her [Mrs Grant] and my children,’ Dr Grant told his son.
Just a few months later Nerez – who was now in control of her elderly father’s estate – transferred a home owned by Dr Grant at Killcare into Kashaya’s name.
Kashaya then leased it back to her mother on a lifelong deal.
Mr Grant died in November 2019 at the age of 98, prompting the long-running legal battle.