Money still can’t buy you love

Hiring a matchmaker may be an expensive alternative to Match.com, but it’s not necessarily a better one, as Darlene Daggett found out the hard way. The former QVC executive recently settled with the celebrity matchmaking agency Kelleher International, run by ex-Baywatch actress Amber Kelleher-Andrews.

The agency “promised to hand-pick her wealthy bachelors, with the goal of finding someone she could spend her retirement years with”, reports Ashley Collman in the Daily Mail. However, despite paying $150,000, she “ended up suffering a series of disastrous dates with men who were more than just unsuitable”, but also “married, mentally unstable, physically ill, pathological liars, serial Lotharios and convicted felons”.

One suitor, “apparently well known to a senior staff member at Kelleher”, claimed to be doing work for the international crime agency Interpol that involved taking part in “clandestine operations”. As a result, he told Daggett that he had to “go dark” for several weeks. He followed this up with a message saying that he “had crossed three oceans, mountains, deserts and jungles, beaches, farmland and more time zones than he could count”. She later learned that, during the time he claimed to be fighting criminals, he was actually “cavorting around the globe” with his former flame, including taking her “all over Europe and Australia”.

An even worse match was the would-be-beau who claimed that his wife was dead, only for Daggett to receive a call revealing that she was very much alive and still married to him. She later learned that he was under investigation for “cooking the books and laundering money, running up $20,000 Amex bills on designer dresses, women’s shoes and high-end hotels”. Eventually, he was “convicted of bank fraud in the amount of $10.5m” and currently resides in jail, where he is awaiting sentencing.

A date with a New York State Supreme Court Justice, billed as the “top mediator in the country”, looked like a much safer bet, at least on paper. Wary of being stung again, Daggett did some basic internet research. She found out that he “was censured for carrying on an affair with an attorney who regularly appeared before him and for sneaking off to broadcasting school while he was supposed to be in court”. When she confronted the agency about this chequered past, the founder shrugged these skeletons off, stating that “it couldn’t have been that bad. He still has a job.”

Scandals like these aren’t new. Dating agencies have “long been despised for taking money off lonely people in return often for nowt”, says Zoe Strimpel in The Sunday Telegraph. But “the fault lies partly with Ms Daggett, and other outraged customers for thinking that a romantic relationship can be bought like any other goods”.

After all, when it comes to love “there are no guarantees” since “you cannot stamp your feet at love and expect a response”. Daggett’s big mistake was “using a service promising rich, high-profile guys”, says Stu Bykofsky of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. The instinct is understandable, but “if it’s love you are looking for, wealth and fame are bad measures”.

Tabloid money… “Call the EU’s bluff. Tell them they’re getting nowt”

• The European Union was trying to extort £54bn from us before we were even allowed to begin trade talks, says Rod Liddle in The Sun. Miraculously, that figure has now dropped to £36bn. It’s as if they are making it up as they go along. “Some say we shouldn’t be churlish.” Just pay up, they say. “But nah. There is principle at stake. Call their bluff, David Davis.” Tell them they’re getting “nowt” and that we are going to start talking trade deals. “And if they play hardball, tell them to stuff it and withdraw… No deal is better than a bad deal.”

• “Unelected EU Commissioners” spent half a million euros on travel in the first two months of 2016 alone, says Camilla Tominey in the Sunday Express. Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spent £1,800 on a one-night trip to Berlin alone. Despite his £275,275 salary, he gave himself a £44 half-day allowance to meet former Parliament president Martin Schulz, even though that’s his job. “I’m sorry,” says Tominey, “but if there had been an MEP expenses exposé before the referendum, the Brexit vote would have been 80/20 at least. But, of course, those in Brussels, Strasbourg and elsewhere have fought to keep their lavish spending under wraps.”

• Philip Green must be wondering what will become of his £3.8bn fortune after his daughter and heiress, Chloe, hooked up with Jeremy Meeks, “an ex-gangster whose CV kicks off with a nine-year prison stretch for grand theft, followed by two more years’ jail for gun possession and resisting arrest”, says Saira Khan in the Sunday Mirror. “OK, in the 17 months of freedom he’s enjoyed since, he’s built a career as a successful model… But if I was in Phil’s deck shoes, I can tell you for sure that if Mr Meeks now appeared to be a living saint who had spent every minute of his liberty helping orphans in India, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.”