Billionaire Harry Macklowe says he’s broke amid nasty divorce
Billionaire developer Harry Macklowe says he’s is broke.
But his soon-to-be ex wife Linda is calling his bluff, saying at the opening day of their divorce trial that his debts are based on the fact that he hasn’t paid taxes since 1983.
Macklowe, 80, has listed his personal net worth as negative $400 million, largely from deferred capital gains taxes related to the 2008 sale of the General Motors building in midtown Manhattan for $2.9 billion.
But “Mr. Macklowe himself knows these types of gains are never actually realized by real estate developers,” said John Teitler, his wife’s attorney.
“This is a case study in divorce accounting 101,” Teitler said during opening statements in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The supposedly illiquid real estate titan’s been “paying [a French girlfriend’s] expenses, providing her with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash as well as lavish gifts– and that’s just what we know about,” Teitler said.
In the divorce case Macklowe has listed his marital assets at $1.3 billion—largely the couple’s extensive art collection and multiple homes including a $100 million Plaza Hotel apartment.
Linda Macklowe, 79, is asking the judge to award her all the art and the apartment.
“Mrs. Macklowe believed they would stay married for the rest of their lives. She did not expect this divorce let alone at age 80,” Teitler said.
They were married for 58 years.
Macklowe’s attorney, Peter Bronstein, called Teitler’s statements “detached from reality.”
Bronstein said his client’s deferred capital gains taxes are “a real liability.”
“There’s no reason why half the marital assets should be taken by the wife and the husband should be left with all the liabilities,” Bronstein said.
Linda Macklowe took the witness stand first Wednesday morning, explaining why she should get the former couple’s art collection.
“Harry grew up in the suburbs and I met him through a friend and he really didn’t know that much about the art world and the New York art world,” she sniffed.
“What attracted him to me was the world I moved in with my friends and the interests we had,” she said.