Billionaire’s Wife Sues N.Y. Law Firm Over Hate-Mail Claim
(Bloomberg) -- The wife of billionaire Isaac Perlmutter sued the well-known New York law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP for what she called frivolous claims made against the couple in their decade-long spat with a neighbor at a swanky Florida condominium complex.
Attorneys at the law firm -- founded by prominent litigator Marc Kasowitz -- spent years unsuccessfully trying to prove Laura Perlmutter and her husband, head of Walt Disney’s Marvel unit, used a hate-mail campaign to tarnish the reputation of millionaire Canadian businessman Harold Peerenboom in a feud over tennis courts, according to the lawsuit.
The escalating legal fight pits two prominent supporters of former President Donald Trump against each other. Isaac Perlmutter has been identified as one of Trump’s financial backers while Kasowitz has defended Trump in everything from defamation suits to his impeachment proceedings.
The Perlmutters and Peerenboom have condos in Sloan’s Curve, an exclusive waterfront complex near Trump’s Mar-A-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. A two-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath unit at Sloan’s Curve recently listed for $7.5 million. The feud was sparked in 2011 by a dispute over management of the complex’s tennis center. It spiraled into claims and counterclaims about the hate-mail campaign against Peerenboom over a five-year period.
“Mrs. Perlmutter has suffered years of false accusations and has been the target of salacious and outrageous malicious prosecution at the hands of Kasowitz Benson and Bowen, and, as a result, has suffered emotional distress and financial harm to the tune of tens of millions of dollars,” her lawyers said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Florida state court.
Peerenboom had earlier sued, blaming the Perlmutters for letters sent to condo residents depicting Peerenboom as a Nazi, a sex offender and a corrupt businessman. The letters were sent to his friends, family, work colleagues and the millionaire himself, he said. Earlier this month, a judge threw out his hate-mail claims.
Emily Thall, chief marketing officer for the Kasowitz firm, on Wednesday called the lawsuit filed by Laura Perlmutter frivolous. Her “allegations are as false as the false denials she and her husband made in the underlying lawsuit concerning their involvement in the hate-mail campaign against Mr. Peerenboom,” Thall said in an emailed statement.
Peerenboom is the founder of the Toronto-based headhunting firm Mandrake Management, while Isaac Perlmutter is the former owner of comic book and movie powerhouse Marvel Entertainment, which he helped rescue from bankruptcy in 1998 and later sold to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion.
Laura Perlmutter contends in her lawsuit that the Kasowitz firm stole her DNA during a deposition in hopes of proving she was part of the defamation campaign against Peerenboom. Even though the DNA didn’t match, the law firm sought to have police charge the billionaire’s wife with a crime, according to the suit.
Ultimately, a Florida judge found there was “no evidence” the billionaire’s wife had “any hand in any hate mailing,” the suit said.
The case is Laura Perlmutter v. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, No. 140756058, 15th Judicial District Circuit Court for the State of Florida (Palm Beach).
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