Sometimes even Marvel superheroes need a Super Lawyer.
Marvel Entertainment chief Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter and wife, Laura, have hired Miami attorney Roy Black to fight a shocking lawsuit filed by a Palm Beach neighbor. Harold Peerenboom alleges that Perlmutter orchestrated an extreme hate-mail campaign that accused him of bribery, homicide, child molestation and pedophilia.
A newly drafted version of the lawsuit also claims the Perlmutters, in a letter-writing campaign, attempted to incite an unknown number of prison inmates “to inflict physical harm” on Peerenboom and his family. The lawsuit alleges defamation and conspiracy.
But the Perlmutters have some sensation allegations of their own: They claim their DNA was illegally swiped off of papers and water bottles they handled during a deposition, a move they said reflected Peerenboom’s “desperate” measure to tie them to the letters.
While all this sounds like something out of a bad movie script, Ike Perlmutter (worth $3.5 billion and ranked No. 155 on the Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans) is taking the lawsuit seriously.
He ditched his previous lawyers and hired Black in August to fight the lawsuit by Peerenboom, a neighbor in their exclusive Sloan’s Curve community on the island.
The reason for the dispute between the two wealthy men? Tennis.
Yes, that’s right. Peerenboom has wanted management of the Sloan’s Curve center put to a competitive bid, instead of repeatedly remaining with tennis pro Karen Donnelly since 1993. Perlmutter, “an avid tennis player,” opposed changing the way the tennis contract was handled, the complaint said.
In 2013, Peerenboom sued Perlmutter and other Sloan’s Curves residents, claiming they were behind a 1,300-plus letter campaign to friends, family, neighbors and colleagues, accusing the Canadian business executive of various criminal acts.
Peerenboom’s complaint said the letter campaign was intended to force him to withdraw from participation in the Sloan’s Curve community.
Letters written as if from Peerenboom also were sent to inmates at state and federal prisons, calling prisoners names and daring them to see Peerenboom on Palm Beach when they get out of jail, the complaint said.
One letter, last March, also warned Peerenboom to leave Sloan’s Curve and called him a “hatichat harah,” which the complaint said is a Hebrew slang expression meaning “piece of (expletive deleted),” according to the complaint.
While the letters are unsigned, the Peerenboom complaint said, “they contain expressions and idioms of speech — including various transliterated Hebrew profanities and phrases … which reveal that the author, like defendant Ike Perlmutter, is of Israeli background” and a resident of Sloan’s Curve.
Peerenboom’s initial lawsuit was dismissed by Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Meenu Sasser. But a redrafted complaint was admitted and named only the Perlmutters, plus John/Jane Does.
Roy Black has represented the rich and infamous, from Palm Beach sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein to Wellington polo mogul John Goodman.
On behalf of the Perlmutters, Black filed a motion to toss Peerenboom’s complaint, saying it is fraught with unreasonable inferences that cannot support claims the Perlmutters engaged in the hate-mail campaign.
While the motion has not yet been ruled on by Sasser, Black is dealing with another matter in the case: Secret DNA testing of the Perlmutters.
Black says the surreptitious move was done to unearth a factual basis by Peerenboom to sue the Perlmutters.
Peerenboom’s reply: The testing was done in connection with a criminal investigation, and the information was turned over to the Palm Beach Police Department.
A Perlmutter spokeswoman said her client would not comment. Lawyers for Peerenboom could not be reached for comment by press time.
PBC buildings deserve face-lifts, too
Boca Raton real estate developer Tom Crocker, who in the past 14 months has snapped up prime commercial properties in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, has big plans to make them better.
In West Palm Beach, the Esperante Corporate Center is slated for a major redo, featuring a downstairs patio and rooftop bar. Total space available for a restaurant is 7,000 square feet.
Crocker and Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers of Connecticut bought the Class A office property in 2013 for $71 million.
Also in the works: Two restaurants to be built on out-parcels in front of One Boca Place, a signature office building along Glades Road near the Town Center mall.
Retail leasing for the properties is being handled by Tom Prakas of the Prakas Group in Boca Raton.
Prakas confirmed a major restaurant deal is close on the Esperante property.
Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law. Contact her at email@example.com.