J.K. Rowling's assistant allegedly stole expensive Harry Potter toys (and a lot more) from her
J.K. Rowling is suing her former personal assistant Amanda Donaldson for nearly £24,000, BBC News reported on Wednesday. The amount, detailed in legal papers filed at Airdrie Sheriff Court in the U.K., equates what Rowling claims Donaldson stole from her in the form of cat purchases, theft of valuable Hogwarts merchandise, more than £1,500 worth of Starbucks business, and — believe it or not — much more.
Donaldson worked for Rowling between Feb. 2014 and April 2017, at which point she was fired by Rowling for “gross misconduct,” per BBC News. She denies Rowling’s claim that she owes £23,696.32 (or $31,143.72), the exact value of her alleged theft.
“I can confirm J.K. Rowling has taken legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust,” a spokeswoman for Rowling told BBC News. “As the case is not yet concluded we are not able to comment further and there won’t be any comment from J.K. Rowling.”
So what exactly happened here? In her position, Donaldson was given a credit card to purchase items related to business and personal affairs; helped oversee memorabilia requests from Rowling’s fans; and was able to access a safe which contained foreign money. It recently became apparent the degree to which Donaldson allegedly abused her levels of access: In her required monthly submissions of spending reports, accountants picked up on “a high volume of personal spending.”
And what personal spending Rowling details in her lawsuit! Candles, coffee, makeup, fresh-baked goods — you name it. Below, see the rundown of what Donaldson is alleged to have spent using the Rowling credit card.
- £823 at Bibi Bakery
- £1,482 at Jo Malone, a “luxury candle company”
- £3,629 at Molton brown, a cosmetic firm
- £2,139 at Paper Tiger, a card shop
- £1,636 at Starbucks
- £1,200 for two cats
And here’s what Rowling says Donaldson stole:
- A motorized Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (£467.56)
- A Harry Potter Wizard Collection (£2231.76)
- A Harry Potter Tales of Beedle The Bard Set (£395)
- £7,742 of foreign money from the aforementioned safe
- £400 for a deposit on lunch (Rowling’s husband, Neil Murray, later realized no deposit had been paid)
The case is due back in court later this year.