ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – The owner of a $300,000 Ferrari is suing Marriott International, saying a hotel valet gave his keys to a young man who was trying to impress a woman he just met.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that 73-year-old attorney James “Skip” Fowler parked his yellow 458 Italia Spider outside the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club last July 27 while attending a lawyer’s convention in St. Petersburg.
There the 2014 Ferrari remained for more than 12 hours, until Levi Miles, then 28, showed up. Miles said he told the woman it was his and demanded the keys, telling the valet that the ticket was in the car and he’d bring it back. He never did. The two sat in the car for “quite a while,” according to a St. Petersburg police report. Eventually, the valet said he stopped paying attention after he “figured he wasn’t getting a tip.”
Miles drove off with Chloe Rimmer in the passenger seat until an officer stopped him for driving without taillights. The police report noted that the driver had “difficulty” handling the car, that cocaine was found on the center console, and that Rimmer had marijuana in her purse.
Miles told several stories. Then he said he had just met Rimmer, and she asked if the Ferrari was his. “Yeah, that’s my car,” he said he told her.
“I was just trying to impress the girl I just met at the Vinoy,” he told officers.
But Miles says he’s innocent of grand theft, because the valet gave him the keys. He also faces charges of cocaine possession and habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license. Rimmer faces a charge of marijuana possession.
Fowler, meanwhile is accusing the hotel and valet, 717 Parking Enterprises, of negligence. He said had to spend “significant sums” on car inspections, repairs and legal fees after he got his Ferrari back, and that its value had been “diminished.”