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Originally published October 14, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 14, 2005 at 10:34 AM

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Bizarre "kidnapping": Was it or wasn't it?

Our story begins in the hills of Lake Forest Park, at a modest home with a sign out front that reads "Free broken concrete. " It winds up...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Our story begins in the hills of Lake Forest Park, at a modest home with a sign out front that reads "Free broken concrete." It winds up with an all-points bulletin for a rental car and an alleged kidnapping victim who later denies he was abducted.

It is a tale of love and money and Hollywood lights. Well, maybe not love, and the Hollywood lights are sort of iffy. But there is definitely money involved.

Bonita Money, to be exact, a Hollywood hanger-on who's at the center of the strange events that began Wednesday night and have been all over TV news. There's also her nephew, Cash Money, and a man initially identified as "Debit Card," but later determined to be James Stihl, an "associate" of the Moneys.

No stranger to the limelight, Bonita Money has periodically made national news over the years, most notably for getting in a fight with a "Beverly Hills 90210" star. But Wednesday's events — which police are still trying to sort through — are perhaps even odder.

Around 7 p.m., Lake Forest Park police got a report that two men and a woman had forced their way into a home in the 5100 block of Northeast 187th Street. The trio implied they had weapons, but none were shown, Detective Tony Matthews said. Then they left with Zeljko Misic, 30, Bonita Money's estranged husband.

Police learned this from Misic's relatives, who live in the home and witnessed the action.

The suspects soon were identified as Bonita Money, Cash Money and Stihl.

The alleged victim didn't live at the home and was just visiting, said his aunt, who didn't give a reporter her name. Police said Misic had been staying there for some time and had previously lived in Las Vegas.

Sin City is also the start of the Money trail.

According to Matthews, Bonita Money flew to Seattle on Wednesday from Las Vegas and picked up a 2005 Jeep Liberty from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Money, 45, had long aspired to be a star, but her motion-picture credits did not gain much notice. She appeared in a string of forgettable B-movies, playing a lead dancer in "Lambada," a "snakewoman" in "Phoenix the Warrior," and a Beverly Hills diva in "Terror in Beverly Hills," according to an Internet filmography. "Terror" also starred Stallone — Frank Stallone, that is.

Her off-screen action did get her noticed, however. In 1992 she got in a fight with "Beverly Hills 90210" star Shannen Doherty. According to newspaper accounts, the star and Money were outside a Los Angeles nightclub when Doherty's date allegedly stepped on the toes of Money's date. A scrap ensued, Doherty was struck in the face, and the two were charged with misdemeanors, although the charges were later dropped. A week later, Doherty was booed at the Billboard Music Awards.

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Money, however, appeared on TV news shows "Hard Copy" and "A Current Affair," according to media reports.

In 1993, she was one of few supporters to show up in court to give support to Heidi Fleiss, telling reporters that she and the infamous Hollywood madam were friends. It is unclear whether Fleiss welcomed her support.

Money reached the pinnacle of her notoriety thanks to her brother, Ron Weaver, who in 1996 was unmasked as an imposter on the University of Texas football team on the eve of the Sugar Bowl. Weaver had played at two colleges, using up his eligibility, before taking on a fake identity and playing as Ron McKelvey at a junior college in Los Angeles and then for the Longhorns. At the time, he was 30 and had played seven years of college football. The ruse turned into a scandal, and Money became her brother's most public defender.

"I've been in a couple of scandals," she told a reporter at the time. "I'm used to reporters and the paparazzi."

As for Wednesday's events, police quickly put out a bulletin for the rented Jeep but had no luck throughout the night. Yesterday morning, however, they reached Money by cellphone and the three agreed to turn themselves in.

That's when the mystery deepened. The alleged victim, Misic, denies being abducted.

"Witnesses say otherwise," Matthews said.

What seems certain, he added, is that there have been "ongoing issues between the husband and wife, family members, friends. That's why we're having some minor difficulty trying to determine what brought this whole thing about."

Detectives continue to investigate.

At the very least, Matthews said, Bonita and Cash Money and Stihl will be booked into King County Jail for investigation of burglary because they allegedly entered the house without permission.

At the end of a busy afternoon, Matthews could only sum it up this way: "It's strange," he said.

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report. Maureen O'Hagan: 206-464-2562 or mohagan@seattletimes.com

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