Perelman, Hudson News Inheritance Fued Coming to a Close - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, July 4, 2022

Perelman, Hudson News Inheritance Fued Coming to a Close

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Samantha Perelman, center, daughter of the financier Ronald O. Perelman, in a New Jersey courtroom last year.
Samantha Perelman, center, daughter of the financier Ronald O. Perelman, in a New Jersey courtroom last year.
A contentious family financial and legal dispute that involves the daughter of financier Ronald O. Perelman is finally nearing its end.

Last week, the head of  newspaper and magazine wholesaler Hudson Media James Cohen took the stand in a New Jersey courtroom for the first time during this ongoing legal brawl. His niece Samantha Perelman has accused him of “of manipulating his ailing father to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars out of her inheritance,” the New York Times reported.

Perelman is the daughter of Mr. Perelman and Claudia Cohen, who happened to be a former New York Post columnist who died in 2007. Cohen’s father, Robert B. Cohen, founded Hudson Media, and Ms. Perelman has claimed that her mother’s share of Robert Cohen’s estate would have been worth roughly $700 million if her uncle had not influenced  her grandfather to change his will

According to the New York Times, Robert Cohen had progressive supranuclear palsy, which made it difficult for him to speak, walk or even blink toward the end of his life. He dies in 2012.

In a lawsuit filed in 2012, Ms. Perelman claimed that her uncle James Cohen had taken advantage of his father’s illness to cut Ms. Cohen, which ultimately meant Ms. Perelman as well, out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Ms. Perelman is asking the court to uphold a 2004 will of Robert Cohen’s which treated both her and her mother more generously, the NYT reported.

James Cohen was questioned for nearly four hours last week, where he focused on his close relationship with his father, and, according to the NYT,  “attested to Robert Cohen’s cognitive ability and intellect, even toward the end. When describing Robert Cohen’s declining health, Mr. Cohen listed only his father’s physical ailments, describing him as a “proud” man who would not want to walk with a cane or use a wheelchair.”

“One of the reasons I went into my father’s business was because my father was probably the smartest guy I had ever met,” Mr. Cohen said on Monday as the final witness in a civil trial that began in September,  “He was an exciting, dynamic businessman.”

But Ms. Perelman’s attorneys claimed  that the very closeness he testified about is what enabled Mr. Cohen to take advantage of his father’s declining mental faculties.

Lawyers for Mr. Cohen contend that Ms. Perelman is merely a spoiled child who didn’t give much “attention” to her grandfather. And Mr. Cohen, they argued, was the dutiful son.

When asked why his father had not been copied in on an email relating to a major Hudson deal, Mr. Cohen said that the contents would have been something he shared with his father during one of their regular talks.

The core issue of the case, the NYT explained, is the 2008 sale of Hudson’s media operations to the private equity firm Advent International. Mr. Cohen earned $600 million from the deal, and Ms. Perelman is insisting that part of that payment should have gone to her grandfather and would now go to her if the 2004 will were enforced.

Mr. Cohen has been further accused by his niece’s lawyers of deliberately hiding information from his father and improperly engineering a takeover of the business, which Mr. Cohen has vehemently denied.

Samantha Perelman’s own father had fought with Mr. Cohen over his father-in-law’s estate for many years. He recently lost the lawsuit he launched in 2008 in that matter. Now as his daughter is in court, Mr. Perelman is reportedly paying his daughter’s legal bills.

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