Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Divorce, Palm Beach style

On Monday afternoon, Lovey responded with a thumbs up to Judge Suskauer’s divorce declaration. According to legal experts, Lovey is now assured 50% of the couple’s fortune that she plans on sharing with the couple’s three children who Burt now refers to as his “enemies.”
Lovey & Burt divorce granted! $500-$750 million split to be determined
By Augustus Mayhew

Burt Handelsman, 90, dubbed “The Mayor of Worth Avenue” for being the street’s chief landlord, has been at odds with his wife and children ever since his wife filed for divorce in 2016 alleging among other things that he apparently had taken up with a much younger woman.

On Monday morning, amid the expectation of a protracted divorce trial after two years of claims and counterclaims, Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer ruled Lucille “Lovey” Handelsman, 89, and her husband Burt’s nearly 70-year marriage “irretrievably broken.” Thus allowing the court to concentrate on dividing the couple’s real estate fortune, much of it in Palm Beach commercial real estate.
Burt Handelsman arriving for Monday afternoon’s court session where excerpts from his deposition statements were played. Burt claimed he was not aware how much his properties were worth. “I’m not an appraiser,” said Handelsman. ‘Where have you resided since your wife filed for divorce in 2016?’ asked Lovey’s lawyer.  “I’ve slept on park benches and various hotels,” responded Handelsman, before adding, “I’m kidding.” And so on.
Because of the Handelsman’s age, Judge Suskauer believed it was important to grant an expeditious divorce.  A real estate empire that began 60 years ago on a Brooklyn kitchen table and now worth a reported $500-$750 million will now be decided by a parade of appraisers, forensic accountants, CPAs, MAIs, CREs, SRAs, and lawyers. On Monday afternoon  I counted seven lawyers, each with a team of paralegals.
Handelsman vs. Handelsman has generated countless evidence boxes and 1,799 court filings, as of February 3, 2018.
Palm Beach’s eminent divorce lawyer Joel M. Weissman represents Lovey Handelsman. Palm Beach’s other leading divorce lawyer Jeffrey Fisher represents the Handelsman’s three children.
View east to Palm Beach from the courthouse’s ninth floor where Handelsman vs. Handelsman is in session for the next several weeks.
Following  Judge Suskauer’s ruling, Lovey and her children were in an optimistic mood during the afternoon. Above, Lovey Handelsman with her son Steven Handelsman, CEO of Love Management Realty, and his wife Deborah, were grateful for the judge’s decision. In July 2016, Burt Handelsman filed suit against his three children charging conversion, unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy. In his deposition, Burt claims his children have kidnapped the properties and are holding them for ransom. “They don’t love these buildings,” he said, “They want the money.”
The Handelsman real estate empire largely stretches from White Plains and Greenwich to Key West, Delray Beach, and Palm Beach.
On Tuesday, lawyers plan on calling Burt Handelsman to testify.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur