N.Y. real estate family end their feud

New York real estate developer Jeffrey Feil and his sisters Marilyn Barry and Carole Feil have resolved a feud they have waged for more than eight years, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The siblings’ legal battles have cost them tens of millions of dollars, the Journal article said. The family enterprise is estimated to be worth more than $7 billion.

The brother and sisters decided to dismiss lawsuits in New York and Louisiana because “the financial pain for both sides would have been enormous if they had decided to break up the portfolio,” the Journal article said.

Under the settlement, Jeffrey Feil will use a new formula to distribute the profits of the family’s properties, which include the Fred F. French Building on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and the Lakeside Shopping Center in the New Orleans area, the Journal reported. “Under the former system, Mr. Feil had much more power than his sisters, although ownership was split among them evenly.”

Jeffrey Feil will name his successor, who will report to the board. The board will include non-family members and will have more power than it has had under Feil, the article said.

The report said the feud started shortly after the siblings’ mother, Gertrude Feil, died in 2006. In addition to fighting over the will, the sisters sued their brother in Louisiana, “accusing him of unfairly depriving them of cash,” the Journal article said. Jeffrey Feil countered that he was running the business the way his father would have wanted.

The siblings, along with another sister, had equal ownership, and Feil likely would not have been able to afford to buy out his sisters on his own, the article said. “He might have had to take on partners who might not have given him full value because they perceived him to be in a distress situation,” the article said.  (Source: Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2017.)