A struggling real estate agent has stolen proceeds from his family-owned apartment in Manhattan to pay off debts and maintain his lavish lifestyle, his brother accuses in new court papers.
Third-generation real estate mogul Stephen Perlbinder claims his sibling, Barton “Mark” Perlbinder, has dominated family businesses for years and used them as a piggy bank, “according to Stephens Manhattan’s Supreme Court case filed Tuesday.
Stephen accuses Mark, the president of Perlbinder Realty, of using the cash to pay for apartments he shares with his girlfriend, as well as to pay off debts and buy expensive cars, the case says.
In particular, Mark has been “self-employed” as he runs a Sutton Place family-owned apartment building located at 400 East 54th Street – which consists of 228 residential apartments, four commercial units and a 140-car parking garage, the case claims. .
Mark has taken $ 13.4 million in profits from the sale of various apartments – which he has not managed to share with Stephen and a family fund, which he should – and has instead used the money “to repay his own personal tax arrears,” it is claimed that in the case. .
The case says the fears from the brothers’ parents that Mark would waste the family’s legacy with his extravagant lifestyle have “unfortunately been realized in recent years.”
Mark’s legal and financial problems include an arrest in 2014 for allegedly taking cocaine and illegal prescription drugs from a bus in the Hamptons. The outcome of that case is unclear.
The court documents allege a wide range of other legal and financial issues. Mark owes $ 12.7 million in tax law and judgments, is $ 1.2 million behind in a divorce settlement, and he is being sued by co-investors in the 400 East 54th Street building – called Revere Condominiums – for allegedly not paying them theirs. share, after he sold units there, it says in the newspapers.
As for the profits that Mark has taken without splitting up with the family, he claims he had an agreement with Stephen to “split” the sale of units according to who sold them. But Stephen claims that agreement never existed, the case claims.
Mark also took a cut of “brokerage commissions” worth $ 350,000 for the sale, despite being carried out by real brokers, the case claims.
Meanwhile, there are still 64 units in the building that remain unsold – which have earned $ 6.5 million in tax arrears and lien, and which Mark has no obvious plan for how to pay off, the case claims.
The wayward brother also put “his young girlfriend” on arranging apartment rentals despite her lack of experience, instead of hiring “a more reputable outfit,” the case claims.
“As a result, vacancy rates have for years exceeded the level of comparable properties,” the case claims.
“Mark’s incompetence is rapidly destroying the valuable investments that his father tirelessly built over many decades,” the case states.
Stephen asks a judge to stop his brother’s allegedly bad business practices and wants Mark to pay him, the family trust, the building operator and the building sponsor a total of $ 143 million in compensation.
Stephen’s lawyer Adam Stein told The Post via email: “We have filed this lawsuit to put the family property back on solid footing.
“Our client wants to see this property managed in a professional manner and Stephen will do everything in his power to protect this family property for fifty years.”
“Our hope is that this suit will preserve a long-lasting family property for the next generation,” Stein said.
Mark’s attorneys did not immediately return a request for comment.