NYC real estate empire a ‘real-life’ ‘Succession’ battle: Lawsuit

In a real-life “Succession” drama, two sisters are warring over a $2 billion family real estate empire that once included the Chrysler building, the Stanhope Hotel and 13 million square feet of Big Apple real estate.

The fortune was amassed by Sol Goldman, a father of four who had the city’s largest private real estate portfolio when he died in 1987 at age 70.

Goldman’s daughter Amy — a big-time Democratic donor who once held a $50,000-per-person reception for President Biden — claimed she’s been wrongly cut out of the business by younger sister Jane, who runs the family company “with a death grip.”

“Jane’s deep-seated sense of entitlement is matched only by her paranoia,” Amy, 70, claimed in Manhattan Supreme Court papers filed alongside nephew Steven Gurney Goldman, calling the dispute “a real-life parallel to the television show Succession.”

Jane, 68, said she’s run the company for 35 years and accused Amy of being an absent manager who would rather spend her days gardening and nurturing her champion heirloom tomatoes.

Amy Goldman Fowler, right, worth an estimated $1 billion thanks to her father’s real estate empire, at a fundraiser. Getty Images for New York Restoration Project
Sol Goldman with daughter, Jane Goldman.

“The comparison [to “Succession”] fits in one respect: both are works of fiction,” Jane said of Amy’s lawsuit.

Her sister and nephew are just “hoping to extract disproportionate benefits for themselves from the Goldman family’s real estate,” Jane contended in her own court papers filed this week, seeking to toss the case.

The sibling rivalry began after Amy and Jane’s only brother, Allan, died in 2022 and his son Steven Gurney Goldman, 31, a poker player and ranked Settlers of Catan participant, began making “outrageous demands,” Jane said in legal papers.

Steven Gurney Goldman joined with his aunt, Amy Goldman Fowler, to sue over management of the $2 billion family business. Linkedin Steven Gurney-Goldman

“When Jane did not agree, he recruited Amy to commence a series of lawsuits to try and force the outcome he desired,” Jane charged.

In 2022, Amy and Steven both triggered the process to cash out their interests in SGI, or Sol Goldman Investments, a branch of the expansive family holdings of roughly 150 to 200 properties worth more than $2 billion — but balked when an outside company valued the business at less than they thought it was worth.

The lower assessment would mean an initial $91 million payout for each, instead of the roughly $130 million they sought.

Sol Goldman once owned the Chrysler Building, but lost it in the 1970s when he defaulted on the mortgage. Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amy and Jane Goldman are each worth about $1 billion thanks to their father’s legacy. Each of Sol Goldman’s children have a 25% stake in SGI — but if they wanted to cash out their stake, could only do so in 5% increments every few years, according to procedures Sol Goldman laid out before his death.

Sol Goldman, a Brooklyn grocer’s son who got his start buying foreclosed properties in 1933 at age 16, lost ownership of the Chrysler Building in the 1970s, defaulting on the mortgage after that decades’ real estate crash.

But the family still owns the land under the Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, which also extends under the Cartier Mansion, as well as dozens of commercial strips and residential buildings.

A lawyer for Amy and Steven declined comment.

Their allegations are “a meritless and brazen attempt to disavow Sol Goldman’s wishes for the family business and unfairly enrich themselves. We look forward to further setting the record straight in court and vindicating Jane’s many years of faithful dedication to the business her father built,” Jane’s lawyer, Jason Cyrulnik, said in a statement.

Additional reporting by Lois Weiss.

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Read More: NYC real estate empire a ‘real-life’ ‘Succession’ battle: Lawsuit

2024-02-10 18:29:00

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