Macklowe claims real estate fortune has shrunk from $548M to $23M
Now that’s some funny math.
In his bitter divorce from wife Linda, billionaire developer Harry Macklowe insists the value of his vast real-estate empire is a mere $23.6 million — but two years ago he told lenders that the properties were worth 23 times that figure.
“The total amount of commercial real estate that you certified to the banks was $548.9 million and the position that you’re taking in this lawsuit is that your total commercial real estate is worth $23 million, is that correct?” Linda Macklowe’s lawyer, John Teitler, asked the developer during cross-examination Wednesday.
“Objection!” said Harry’s lawyer, Peter Bronstein.
“Overruled,” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Laura Drager said.
“That’s correct,” said Harry, who has regaled reporters with a series of “Take my wife — please” jokes during the trial.
By comparison, that $23.6 million is what it would take to buy a three-bedroom at his 125-unit tower at 432 Park Ave.
The testimony also laid bare the value of every single one of Harry’s real estate holdings as of December 2015.
The bulk of the $548.9 million figure comes from the crown jewel of Harry’s investments. He expects to receive $440.5 million from his stake in 432 Park Ave., which is the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere.
The 80-year-old developer provided the “Statement of Financial Condition” to a number of banks in 2016 to obtain loans and lines of credit.
The statement only lists $30 million in liabilities even though Harry’s claimed in his divorce from his wife of 58 years that his net worth is negative $400 million, largely from deferred capital gains taxes.
“The total amount of your liabilities was $29.8 million, correct,” Teitler asked.
“That’s correct,” Harry said.
“And you certified as to the accuracy of this information, is that correct?” Teitler continued.
“Yes,” Harry answered.
The financial statement did not include the value of his art collection, which his own expert put at $1 billion, or his Plaza hotel condominium. That was valued at $100 million. The Macklowes also own a $41 million custom racing yacht and a two estates in the Hamptons.
The judge seemed unfazed by the gaping discrepancy.
“It’s not uncommon in matrimonial cases that a spouse says I have no money and yet shortly before the divorce action starts submits a statement to a landlord that says, oh, yeah, I have plenty of money you should give me an apartment,” Drager said.