Dr Praeger’s CEO left kids at drug-strewn home to go out partying during lockdown, claims estranged wife
Larry Praeger had been staying with his kids and a nanny when he left the house saying he had to take a phone call and didn't return for seven hours
The heir of Dr Praeger’s, an all-natural, frozen foods company based in New Jersey, allegedly left his three children at home with drugs strewn around to party for hours in breach of COVID-19 lockdown, court documents said. The documents have been filed by Larry Praeger’s estranged wife Brenna Praeger as part of their divorce proceedings.
According to reports, the incident happened in April when Larry, who had been staying with his kids and a nanny in the Hamptons, left the house saying he had to take a telephone call at around 4:30 pm on April 29 and did not return for seven hours. He returned home at around 11:30 pm in an “intoxicated” condition, Brenna claimed in the Manhattan Supreme Court filing.
The court documents also stated that few hours after Larry, who is now CEO of the company best known for its veggie burgers, disappeared his kids began texting and FaceTiming with their mother around 7 pm since they were “upset” and “scared” that their father was not home yet. One of the children even sent a message to Brenna, saying, “my head Hurts to death” and “Mommy I feel like I’m bout to die,” - screenshots of which are part of the filing.
At the time, Brenna was reportedly in Manhattan, however, as soon as she received the messages from her children she took an Uber and rushed to the couple’s five-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Water Mill. She reached there at around 11:15 pm, only to find “unknown drug substances, pills and drug paraphernalia strewn along with the countertop in her master bedroom.” “The drugs were fully exposed with no efforts to conceal them,” the legal documents stated.
Brenna claims she took the images of the substances of what appeared to be psychedelic mushrooms in a plastic baggie, as well as a tin of cannabis-infused mints, a vaping device and a small, pyramid-shaped object in a gold wrapper. The snaps taken by the children’s mother also showed two bottles of prescription pills, one of which appeared to be labeled with Larry’s name and apparently contained “amphetamine salts”, mostly used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. In the court filing, Brenna said that she found “similar paraphernalia and drugs” in a safe in the home in May 2019. The photo she took at that time showed a rolled-up plastic bag, a scrunched up ball of aluminum foil, and a case for a cannabis vaping pen. On April 29, the court documents say, Larry returned home about ten minutes after Brenna arrived. But to stop him from entering the house, she locked the door which prompted Larry to start screaming and banging on the door, and “threatening her that she would never set foot in this house again."
However, later Larry somehow managed to enter the house but allegedly left when Brenna agreed to give a backpack from the bathroom full of unknown items that she “was never able to photograph." Court papers say Brenna spent nine days at the house with the kids before leaving them there with Larry on April 26. “Within 72 hours of Mr. Praeger being responsible for the parties [sic] Children, he left them with their nanny…so he could go out partying,” the papers say. Soon after the incident, Brenna filed the lawsuit on April 30, seeking an emergency order awarding her temporary custody of the children and exclusive access to the Water Mill home. In the suit, she also demanded drug testing of Larry within 24 hours and random testings afterward.
Justice Douglas Hoffman reportedly granted the requests, due to which Larry has to undergo 30 days of random, twice-weekly urine and hair-follicle testing for drugs including psilocybin and LSD. The court also ordered Larry to quarantine for 14 days.