The Real Deal New York

Eliot Spitzer has started splitting up late father’s empire

Properties divided among Bernard's three children and charitable trusts

December 18, 2015 06:18PM
By Rich Bockmann

Eliot Spitzer (right) has started splitting up his late father Bernard's estate

Eliot Spitzer (right) has started splitting up his late father Bernard’s estate

The Spitzer family fortune, which includes a portfolio of prime Manhattan real estate, is being divvied up.

Under Eliot Spitzer’s direction as executor of his late father Bernard’s will, the $500 million estate transferred ownership of the properties that the patriarch acquired, according to property records filed with the city this week.

A spokesperson for Spitzer declined to comment. The former governor and now active developer put a sizable stake of 1050 Fifth Avenue, a 20-story, 90-unit rental building his father developed in 1960, into the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. He also transferred shares of 30 co-op units at 200 and 210 Central Park South into the trust, which has been a big patron of organizations such as the Public Theater and City College.

In his will, Bernard ordered that about $250 million of his wealth should be left to charity, the New York Post reported in November 2014.

“The estate will eventually have to be distributed. This is how the executor is satisfying the disposition of the will,” said Sarah Rebosa, an expert in estate planning with the Brooklyn law firm of Cullen and Dykman, who isn’t involved in the execution of the will.

Partial shares in a number of other properties were also transferred, and Rebosa said the trust could likely hold onto some assets until it gets final clearance from the IRS.

“He [Bernard] only died last year,” she added. “In the world of estates that’s not very long ago.”

Spitzer transferred interests in certain properties — including the apartment building he lived in while serving as governor at 985 Fifth Avenue and the $88 million Hudson Yards development site Spitzer Engineering bought in 2013 — to himself and his siblings, Daniel and Emily Spitzer. Daniel, who is a neurosurgeon, and Emily, who is an attorney, have not expressed interest in joining the family business.

Spitzer also put 420 Kent Avenue, the Williamsburg development site Spitzer Engineering bought for $165 million in February, into a charitable trust set up for his mother, Anne Spitzer.

Spitzer Engineering has been selling some of the company’s trophy properties, such as the Crown Building, which Jeff Sutton and General Growth Properties bought for a record-setting $1.78 billion in April.

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