NYC socialite, 88, trapped at home against his will, claims a friend in a suit

Socialite and oil heir Christophe de Menil has reportedly been confined to her Upper East Side townhouse against her will by her previously estranged daughter, her friend has claimed in bizarre new court documents.

The 88-year-old daughter, Taya Thurman, is reportedly preventing the jewelry designer from having visitors or leaving her home on East 81st Street, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

Alina Morini – a woman who describes herself as de Menil’s “dear friend, confidant and moral supporter of 15 years” – filed the complaint when she tried to sue de Menil’s daughter.

Thurman’s lawyer Sheila Tendy on Thursday described Morini’s claims as “absolutely false”.

Morini claims that de Menil’s daughter, who is actress Uma Thurman’s half-sister, had been estranged from her mother for 30 years before she was recently appointed to power of attorney when they reconciled.

Christophe de Menil
Christophe de Menil is reportedly forced to stay in his home on East 81st Street.
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She said de Menil has become more and more isolated in the hands of her daughter since and has tried to revoke the power of attorney from her offspring several times, according to the complaint.

The claims of isolation are far from the socialist lifestyle de Menil – a supporter of the international Schlumberger oil dynasty – had maintained in the Big Apple.

De Menil, who was briefly married to Uma Thurman’s father Robert Thurman from 1959 to 1961, and Morini were often photographed attending events together.

Christophe De Menil and Alina Morini
Christophe de Menil with Alina Morini. Morini tries to sue de Menil’s daughter.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Morini claims she had lived with de Menil in her townhouse for the past six years, but was evicted by Taya Thurman in February as part of a “well-organized scheme” to force a “breakup” between the two friends , according to court documents.

Taya Thurman
Christophe de Menil’s daughter Taya Thurman.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

She also claims that Thurman and her lawyer arranged for Morini to be arrested when she returned to the townhouse in March at the request of de Menil.

As proof of her allegations, Morini included a written statement that she claims was written by de Menil on the day of Morini’s arrest, saying she wanted her friend to “stay with me in my home.”

“She lived with me for 5-6 years … No one is influencing me in this statement,” the written statement said.

Morini is seeking $ 5 million in damages for his false arrest, imprisonment and wrongful postponement.

“These reprehensible allegations are absolutely false,” Thurman’s lawyer told the Post.

“Alina Morini was arrested for entering Christophe de Menil’s apartment. We believe this frivolous lawsuit is a trick that aims to influence other lawsuits. ”

To back up Morini’s allegations, the complaint includes an email in June that one of the Menil’s other friends, Nico Iliev, allegedly wrote to investigators at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on June 3 regarding the socialite’s alleged incarceration.

Iliev claimed, according to the letter in the complaint, that the isolation started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when Thurman allegedly forced de Menil to rewrite her will in April 2020.

But the situation escalated earlier in the year when de Menil’s longtime staff was laid off, the locks on her townhouse were changed, cameras were installed and her phones were cut off, Iliev alleged.

Trial for Christophe de Menil She also claims that Thurman and her lawyer arranged for Morini to be arrested when she returned to the townhouse in March at the request of De Menil.  Morini says she spent 30 hours in jail as a result.  As proof of her allegations, Morini included a written statement that she claims was written by de Menil on the day of Morini's arrest, saying she wanted her friend to
Morini presented this letter as proof that de Menil wanted her to stay in his home.
Legal documents

“At the moment no one is allowed to visit Christophe (as we all call her), nor is she allowed to step outside the house,” read his email.

Iliev said he briefly visited de Menil in February to hand over a birthday present, but claims he was only allowed to stay for 17 minutes, according to the letter.

“It was a heartbreaking experience. De Menil was confined to her bedroom, where she never received guests. During the quick visit, which was supervised by the domestic worker, she shared that she feels that she is ‘in prison’, “Iliev wrote.

“I found Mrs. de Menil very sharp and thought clearly, yet felt like a hostage.”

In his email, Iliev said he included an audio clip of de Menil “in which she expressly expresses her desire to revoke the power of attorney she has previously given her daughter.”

The post office contacted de Menil on Thursday, but has not yet heard back.

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