All that Grace Chang Venner wanted was to bounce her husband's presumed mistress from the Society Hill apartment he had agreed to lease to her for $1 per month for the next 40 years, and she wanted to do it with as little fuss as possible.
But all that failed when rather than doing it in person, she sued him in Common Pleas Court, plunging her and Stuart Venner, 62, a Brooklyn, N.Y., real estate mogul, and Panadda Pratomtang, 41, into the media spotlight for two long days.
The saga began in July 2012, when Stuart Venner bought 421 Pine St., a three-story brownstone, for $900,000 as an investment property.
About the same time, Pratomtang signed a lease to move into the upstairs apartment. The lease - $1,300 per month - was a bit low for one of the city's toniest neighborhoods, but not outrageously so.
But in January 2014, both signed a very different lease agreement. Pratomtang got the unit for just $1 per month. The rent could be paid "on an annual basis." And it was good for the next 40 years.
Then Venner made a big mistake.
In March 2014, just months after he'd signed his updated lease with Pratomtang, he named his wife as the manager of 421 Pine L.L.C. (the entity listed as the property owner). That gave Grace Chang Venner access to the lease, which she eventually saw.
Her response was to file a suit Jan. 16 alleging that Pratomtang was really paying rent by "providing prostitution services."
"The lease agreement is not based on actual consideration, but rather on sex for rent," Chang Venner's complaint read. "This is prostitution pursuant to Pennsylvania law and an illegal contract."
Such language, of course, can set off all kinds of alarms, and the Philadelphia Daily News put the couple's troubles on its cover Thursday.
On Friday morning, she quietly withdrew her suit. Neither of the Venners returned requests for comment. Her lawyer, R. Emmett Madden of Jenkintown, declined to comment.
A phone number listed for Pratomtang was out of order.
There was no word on whether Pratomtang had vacated the premises or whether the lease is still in effect. No one answered the door of 421 Pine St. Thursday or Friday. Neighbors said they rarely, if ever, saw anyone coming or going.