May 7, 2008 -- The fur is flying. A Columbia University co-ed says that after her $12,000 blond mink coat went missing during a party at a downtown New York night spot, starlet Lindsay Lohan was later seen in several photographs wearing a remarkably similar blond mink.
"The pictures speak for themselves," said Merrill Cohen, the attorney for the fur's owner, Masha Markova, a 22-year-old art history and philosophy major. "They make it seem clear that wrongdoing took place."
The pictures, some of which were taken the same night, show Lohan wearing an identical coat with the same lining as the one Markova owns. They also show Lohan wearing another coat, a black shearling, that same night.
"Lindsay did not steal a coat," Lohan's rep Leslie Sloane Zelnick shot back in an e-mail to ABCNEWS.com when asked about Markova's allegations.
While it's not clear exactly what transpired with the coat, Markova has it back in her possession and, though she is stopping short of accusing Lohan of stealing it, she and Cohen are seeking remuneration for the three weeks the coat went missing.
"If we filed suit, we would seek punitive damages in the six-figure range," Cohen told ABCNEWS.com. "It has to be something that's going to be substantial, that makes her accountable for what she did," she said.
"How entitled can someone feel?" Cohen wondered. "I don't know what her motivation was. Maybe it was rare to find a blond mink that matched her hair."
"If my client had gotten an apology (and the coat) the next day," Cohen continued, "she would have rolled her eyes and said, 'Party girl.' But it wasn't that way."
It all started in the wee morning hours of Jan. 26.
Around 2 a.m., Markova, a former model and Russian émigré, went to a private birthday party at the nightclub 1Oak for a friend of jet-setting playboy Stavros Niarchos. Lohan was there and, at one point, the women even sat next to each other, though they never spoke. Markova had also seen Lohan earlier at The Box, another trendy downtown New York night spot.
Markova put her Italian-designed sheared blond mink, a gift with an $11,995 price tag from her grandmother, on top of other jackets in a common storage bin next to the couches, according to Cohen. Apparently, few people check their coats at the velvet-roped nightclub, especially at a private event.
When she prepared to leave after an hour, it was gone. Markova had to borrow a coat from one of the club's owners to get home that wintry night. Two weeks later, Markova flipped through the Feb. 11 edition of OK! magazine and saw Lohan photographed the very same night in an identical blonde fur.
"It was my coat," she told the New York Post. "It was no doubt!"
After the club's owners failed to get her coat back, Markova called Cohen, her immigration lawyer. Cohen then called Lohan's Hollywood attorney, Blair Berk, and threatened litigation. Hours later, the club called to say they were going to bring her something. Two days later, the coat arrived at Markova's apartment. She said it reeked of cigarettes and alcohol and there was a slight tear in the lining.
"Clearly, this girl is looking for publicity," a 1Oak spokesperson said. "She misplaced her coat. 1Oak returned it. End of story."
Markova told her attorney she had surfed the Internet and come up with several paparazzi photos of Lohan wearing her alleged coat hours after the party at 1Oak. There are also pictures of Lohan wearing a black coat outside of 1Oak the same night. Whether those pictures were taken before or after the party is not clear.
Splash, the agency that sold this photo of Lohan wearing the black coat, says the picture was taken outside of 1Oak around 3 a.m. on Jan. 26.
INF, the agency that sold this photo of Lohan wearing the mink, says the image was taken before midnight on Jan. 25. In both photos, Lohan is clearly wearing the same outfit with silver high heels.
In this photo, taken later during the day on Jan. 26, Lohan is seen wearing the same black coat and carrying the fur in question.
Later that evening, Jan. 26, she is photographed in the fur after an early dinner at the New York restaurant Da Silvano.